Multinational telecommunications and media company AT&T is a well-known name across the world. The company processes more than 30 million invoices of varying types, worth $120 billion, and issues more than 29 million payments to its suppliers and employees. With such a large volume of payments, any reduction in processing time and cost savings is crucial to continued business growth.
The average cost to issue a paper check is approximately $3.00, and that number (plus postage) only continues to increase. AT&T’s internal accounts payable relied on traditional checks, which added days to the payment life cycle and increased risk of physical fraud.
For payroll taxes or IRS payments, the company was faced with a fundamental challenge: Expensive mailing fees and decreased efficiency. “In our internal business units, we do a lot of check pulls and overnights for those tax documents,” says AT&T Director of Accounting, Finance and Accounts Payable Ken Reatherford. “We were incurring a lot of costs with check-pulling, overnight mail fees, and the lag time it takes to get the check in the hands of the person who needs it.”
AT&T is always looking to improve compliance and security within their payment offerings. “We looked at the cost, the time to implement, the speed of the payment and the security around the payment method itself,” says Reatherford.
With DPX eChecks, the company no longer needs to wait for the mail float or spend extra dollars on costly overnight fees to deliver payments. The eCheck is created in seconds and can be sent via email to the payee same day, then attached to the right tax documentation and processed internally in far less time than traditional payment. The cost of losing a check in the mail, replacing it and resending overnight to avoid even more late fees are completely eradicated by using an eCheck. This increased efficiency has been a welcome change within AT&T’s internal business accounts.
The implementation [of DPX] was probably one of the best success stories I’ve had in 31 years of working in this organization.
Companies often consider the cost and IT resources needed when approaching a shift to digital payments. Through API integration, DPX seamlessly fits within AT&T’s existing system and dramatically reduces the time it takes for money to move from payer to payee. “The implementation was probably one of the best success stories I’ve had in 31 years of working in this organization,” says Reatherford. “The timeline to implement was about three months from start to finish, and it was very low cost. [The transition to digital payments] was smooth and it has been a very good experience for us.”
Reatherford says the company previously processed 600,000 paper checks per year for accounts payable and has now designed a payment wall for their payees to receive the majority of those payments digitally: “The eCheck has turned out to be very valuable for us as an internal use case.”
DPX has been well received by AT&T’s internal business units since it significantly cuts payment costs and time. “Rolling it out to our business units was a no-brainer,” adds Reatherford. “They don’t have that 2- to 3-day lag time with overnights or mail float.” After such a successful internal use case, Reatherford plans to roll out the platform in phases to all of AT&T’s 120,000 suppliers beginning summer 2021.