Karla Friede is Chief Executive Officer, co-founder, and member of the Board of Directors at Nvoicepay. She has 20 years of experience in management, finance, and marketing roles in both large and early stage companies. Along with the founding team, Karla has grown Nvoicepay into the leading B2B Payment Automation Software company. Prior to founding Nvoicepay, she was President and CEO of privately held Zevez Corporation; VP of Marketing for GeoTrust (acquired by Verisign in 2006); Co-founder of The Ascent Group, a strategy consulting firm serving technology firms in the bay area; Director of Marketing at Mentor Graphics, and part of the PBAS team at KPMG.
Karla received an MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business and a BS in Accounting from University of Idaho.
Q: What should payment automation look like?
Friede: Automation should support your process and feel like a natural part of the flow of your daily work. In business payments, automation should be intuitive and maintain visibility, traceability, and control across all payment types. Payments are an easy place to start for AP automation. Payment automation can be implemented in 45 to 90 days with minimal IT involvement and no change in internal processes. Since the benefits and savings are immediate, they can be used to automate upstream AP processes like capture or workflow — not to mention make the AP Manager or Finance Director who lead the automation look like a rock star.
Q: What security risks do cloud-based technology pose and what measures are in place to combat them?
Friede: Cloud-based technology providers have the ability to leverage leading security technologies — including the latest technology for updating, patching, monitoring, logging, auditing, alerting, and encrypting — as well as physical security and highly trained personnel. If the available security technologies are used, the risks of cloud-based services are significantly less than a provider who is trying to do security themselves on premise. The question is which cloud security services is your solution provider using? Industry best practices are for payment solution providers to be fully PCI compliant and SOC 1 Type 2 compliant.
Q: What and how realistic is a paperless environment?
Friede: The tipping point of a paperless environment is upon us. Technology has enabled organizations to cut paper out of traditionally paper-based processes like receiving invoices or printing checks. A paperless accounts payable environment for payments is here now and has been for eight years. Electronic accounts payable payments reduce AP costs by 75 percent (checks are 10 times more expense than electronic payments), dramatically increase efficiency, remove the need to increase headcount as businesses grow, and deliver card based rebates. On average, businesses see total benefits of $5/payment when moving to payment automation. In other words, a company making 100,000 payments a year sees benefits of $500,000 a year, every year.
Q: What technology trends will have the greatest impact on payment automation over the next five years?
Friede: I see three main trends affecting B2B payment automation over the next five years. The first is distributed ledger and cryptocurrency technology. I believe distributed ledger technologies will dramatically change international payments over the next three years. Today, it’s easier to mail a package of money around the world than digitally sending money through your bank. Distributed ledger technology has the potential for businesses to send funds faster, with more visibility and traceability, to anywhere in the world. Second, I see supplier payment automation taking off. Accounts payable is the last bastion of paper in the office. Few other automation solutions allow businesses to immediately impact their bottom lines through cost reduction and revenue generation. Third, I am hopeful the definition of banks will change to allow fintechs to offer more lending services and supply chain financing. This potential regulatory change could have a transformative impact on the financing options available to businesses.
Q: Some in the industry feel there are too many payment options to effectively manage. Do you agree?
Friede: This may be true on the consumer side of payments but it is definitely not the case for business payments. In business to business (B2B) payments, traditional bank based solutions for electronic payments are so cumbersome many businesses find it easier just to write checks. While customers and merchants struggle to keep up with all the payment offerings, businesses are looking to add more options like ACH, card, and wire.
Q: Can you give some background about Nvoicepay and its business model?
Friede: Nvoicepay transforms the massive and expensive effort that goes into paying suppliers into a simple and automated solution. We optimize electronic invoice payments for enterprises with intuitive cloud-based software. In addition, we provide comprehensive supplier services through our Payment Command Center and the highest level of security in the industry. By automating all payments, Nvoicepay unlocks resources and immediately reduces accounts payable costs by 75 percent.
Nvoicepay was founded in 2009 and has grown by triple digits every year since inception. We serve over 2,500 customers paying billions of dollars to over 275,000 suppliers every year. Nvoicepay customers are found across multiple industries including, healthcare, construction, automotive, technology, property management, retail, restaurants, manufacturing, non-profits, and government entities. Our business model is transactional. Nvoicepay is successful when our customers are successful.