The trade show experience in 2020 was different than any prior year. These events are the extracurricular clubs of the business world. They gather buyers and suppliers, innovators and educators — all in one place to promote networking, learning, and growing your customer base. When employees stopped business travel and started working from home, the event industry responded by making a seismic shift to virtual platforms.

Did it work? To find out, the Payments Podcast spoke to Alana Streit, General Manager of North American Payments at Bottomline. She attended AFP 2020, which brought keynotes, educational sessions, and resource sharing to a new, virtual experience.

When asked what it was like to attend a conference online, she praised the organizers for doing an exceptional job. “The format, the technology worked great…and we had the opportunity to spend a lot more time focusing on the educational sessions”, she explained.

Streit shares her top 5 highlights from the event:

  • B2B Payments are still too hard for everyone – a balance needs to be struck between speed and remaining compliant with security regulations. Corporates and banks need to collaborate more to make this happen.
  • Data is king – data is an extremely valuable asset, but it must be refined in order to be useful (‘garbage in/garbage out’). Innovation is key to getting data analyzed efficiently so it can get to work.
  • Bank fee analysis is tedious and takes too much time – many corporates have 10+ banking partners. Analyzing the different fees for each bank can be a full-time job. The industry is focused on solving for that by utilizing intelligent technology.
  • Receivables, receivables, receivables – AR is still dominated by paper checks, which require manual handling and can be targeted by fraudsters. The good news is that the move to digitization accelerated this year, with its contactless appeal and visibility into the full payments cycle.
  • Inspiring Keynote – Daniel Pink, the author of “The Science of Perfect Timing”, offered today’s working-from-home employees some advice bt stressing the importance of scheduling activities around your most productive times of days. Are you an early bird or a night owl? Knowing that can go a long way to boosting your energy and efficiency.

To hear more of Alana’s takeaways with additional commentary, listen to the full podcast, “5 Key Takeaways from AFP 2020” to hear more about Alana’s experience at the fully virtual AFP 2020 event.

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Posted by Germaine Lang

Germaine Lang is the Managing Editor of SmartPayments with a strong creative and technical writing background across many industries. She also works to engage customers and relate their experiences with vendor products and services, positioning them as innovative thought leaders.