Organizations in the US are now more willing to migrate from checks to electronic payments for business-to-business transactions than they were four years ago, according to a survey by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP). The AFP 2004 Electronic Payments Survey, however, also finds that a number of significant barriers obstruct progress toward the wider use of electronic payments by businesses. While more than 75 per cent of B2B payments are currently made by paper check, 28 per cent of respondents to the survey indicate that their organization is very likely to move to electronics for the majority of their B2B payments in the next three years. Additionally, half (50 per cent) of respondents said that it was somewhat likely that their organization would move to electronic payments in that time period. The increased willingness to move away from checks is in sharp contrast to an AFP survey conducted four years ago, when only 9 per cent strongly agreed that their organization was likely to convert to electronic payments within the next three years. However, financial professionals also identified barriers that obstruct progress toward wider adoption of electronic payments in B2B transactions. The survey’s respondents gave nearly equal weight to four major barriers: accounting systems that are not integrated with electronic payment systems; shortage of IT resources; lack of a single standard format for remittance information; and trading partners who cannot send or receive electronic payments with sufficient remittance information.
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