Webinar: The Future of Media and Agency Operations

 

The disruption caused by COVID-19 across the media landscape has been sudden, dramatic, and is expected to have a lasting impact. Agencies, brands, and media suppliers are all feeling the impact both financially and operationally while working remotely. As businesses across the US slowly start to return to business as usual, what will this new world look like for advertising?

FastPay and 4As sat down with industry leaders from agencies across the country to discuss the financial and cultural impact of COVID-19 on the media and advertising industry, and what they’re doing to reposition themselves in the new normal.

FastPay Provides Business Continuity to Media Agencies and Suppliers Working Remotely

FastPay data shows 40% decrease in ad spending, 20% slowdown in payment timing (DSOs), accompanied by 3x increase in FastPay loan requests

LOS ANGELES, April 22 2020 — 

As the majority of the United States is asked to work remotely and practice social distancing, FastPay’s ePay, Capital, and FastPay Network solutions have helped media agencies and media suppliers continue to operate. ePay and FastPay Network are automating payments for agencies and suppliers who formerly relied on checks, while the Capital solution is arming media tech firms and publishers with access to liquidity they need to maintain business as usual. 

“In these uncertain times, we’re hearing from many agencies and media suppliers about the importance of payment automation to maintain business continuity.  Over the last thirty days, we’ve seen an increased need for capital across the ecosystem as companies look for additional sources of revenue. Thankfully, we’re in a position to help.” said Jed Simon CEO and Founder of FastPay. 

In the month of April alone, FastPay’s proprietary data revealed a 24% decline in payment volume and a 20% increase in payment delays. Requests for capital have surged by 277%. Media buying on a programmatic basis was down 40% according to FastPay’s payment data. The media organizations seeing the biggest negative impact are those that have relied too much on checks for too long and are struggling to work remotely. 

According to Zehnder Communications CFO Jeremy Hunnewell, “Working remotely has been an impetus for us to look at how we can move more of our processes from paper to digital. Our partnership with FastPay has been critical in how we pay our vendors quickly, securely and safely.”  

With shelter-in-place restrictions likely to continue, media companies responsible for informing and entertaining a quarantined public are rushing to apply more automation to their backend payment systems. FastPay predicts that this turn to automation is here to stay even as national restrictions are lifted and is proud to provide financial support to media businesses in this time of crisis. 

FastPay is a financial technology platform that reduces friction and unlocks capital for buyers and sellers across the media landscape. Since its inception in 2009, FastPay has secured the movement of more than $7B in capital providing access to hundreds of millions of dollars in deployable capital from partners including Citibank, Wells Fargo, and Oak HC/FT. Its leadership team brings decades of credit and payments experience from Green Dot Corporation, Capital One, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Skrill. Headquartered in Los Angeles, FastPay has offices in New York and Framingham, MA. For more information, please visit https://gofastpay.com/ .

Media and press inquiries, contact Kyle Mears at kyle.mears@gofastpay.com.

Fastpay Capital at Montgomery Summit 2020

Secil Baysal, President & COO, FastPay speaks with Jacki Karsh for MontyTV about our finance platform directed at the needs of the media industry at The Montgomery Summit 2020 presented by Macquarie.

FastPay At Home

Due to COVID-19, offices and businesses around the world have had to rethink their approach to business and office culture. Since we can’t physically be together to celebrate company milestones or even have the daily human interaction we are accustomed to – we’ve had to get creative! Here are a few ways that FastPay employees are staying productive at home:

 

Virtual Pilates: 

Once a week, FastPay employees have the option to join a virtual pilates class from the comfort of their living room. A certified Pilates instructor talks us through a 45 minute equipment-free exercise routine. Employees can also participate in a daily plank challenge that increases the hold time over 30 days, building up to a 5 minute plank!

 

Town Halls: 

Our weekly all hands meetings are led by our executive team and are designed to keep us informed on company and industry news updates.To reduce meeting fatigue and keep things light and fun, FastPay has enforced themed dress codes to our Town Halls like a tropical Hawaiian theme or most recently, a Hamptons White Party.

 

Here’s a quick list of a few other ways we boost morale and keep our employees connected: 

  • Baby Photo Contest
  • Sharing cooking recipes
  • Peer connections chats with colleagues
  • FastPay Cribs
  • Virtual Happy Hours

 

FastPay has also helped guide clients through the challenges associated with remote work and will continue being a resource as restrictions are (hopefully) gradually lifted.

 

FastPay’s Response to COVID-19

As we continue to monitor the spread and impact of COVID-19, we want to let you know that we have the proper infrastructure and processes in place to continue services without disruption. 

As of now, the Capital, Payments, and FastPay Network systems are seeing no interruptions or delays in uptime or processing. We have received no indication from our partners that there will be any changes in service that would impact our clients.

In light of recent developments and government recommendations, FastPay has taken the following steps to ensure business continuity:

  1. All FastPay teams and employees are currently working remotely and will continue to do so as long as local conditions dictate.  

  2. FastPay has system redundancy and geographic disbursement of teams across the country.

  3. Remote access for all of our platforms and financial systems continue operating with full capabilities. 

  4. Continued secure protection and privacy of all client data to be handled with the utmost care.

  5. Account managers are available to help answer any questions you may have regarding your business.

We understand the difficulties that some institutions are currently faced with in managing a rapid transition to remote work. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your account manager. FastPay is committed to providing quality assistance through this turbulent time.

Please make sure to check back periodically for updates. We appreciate your understanding and support.

5 Questions to Ask Your Payments Provider

5 questions to ask your payments provider

Many payment providers make lofty claims, but are they actually fulfilling their end of the bargain? Maybe you’ve heard that a higher rebate percentage equals more revenue share or that all payment technology is the same. These misleading statements aren’t only damaging to your forecast, but they also set unrealistic expectations for stakeholders in your AP department. FastPay has developed a guide to dispel some of these common misconceptions so you can guarantee your payment provider is delivering the results promised. Check out the 5 questions below to ask your payments provider.

1. How do you support supplier outreach and enrollment?

Agencies work with an expansive network of media suppliers which can make it overwhelming to track thousands of vendors and payment types at any given time. FastPay conducts a monthly analysis of your vendor files and proactively reaches out to any new suppliers so you don’t have to. With a dedicated media payments team, you can rely on consistent vendor outreach and enrollment, that remains strong throughout the course of the partnership.

2. Does your program offer revenue share guarantees?

Agencies receive revenue share based on the number of electronic payments processed. Using robust supplier data, FastPay can accurately forecast the revenue share for your agency so you can project how much you will earn from processing payments. FastPay is the only media payments provider that can guarantee the maximum amount of revenue share in the industry.

3. How many media suppliers are in your payment acceptance program?

Maximizing supplier acceptance requires a complete and up-to-date network of media suppliers especially with the constant changes across the media ecosystem. FastPay is the only media payments platform that stores and dynamically updates robust data on supplier ownership hierarchy, media type, and contact information, resulting in the highest payment acceptance rate in the industry.

4. How many of your media payments can be automated?

Many suppliers accept payments exclusively through their own web portals which is a painstaking task requiring agencies to manually enter credit card information for each payment. FastPay has proprietary technology that automates more than 85% of payments to these portals ensuring timely and accurate payments. Our integrated database of supplier conditions ensures that we find every possible credit card payment, every time.

5. Who handles your payment processing? 


When regularly managing millions of dollars every day, payment providers need a reliable and secure payment processing partner. FastPay partners with Comdata, the payment industry’s version of Amazon Web Services (AWS) for card issuing, to ensure product uptime and processing reliability for all clients. With more than $55B annually processed, Comdata is the only partner FastPay trusts.

FastPay Named Best B2B Payments Solution of 2019

In an annual listing of 50 companies that are at the forefront of providing fintech solutions and impacting the marketplace, CIOReview has selected FastPay as the Best B2B Payments Solution of the year. This recognition comes from a distinguished panel of CEOs, CFOs, and industry analysts that have closely scrutinized and nominated the best-in-class vendors in the fintech marketplace.

“These vendors are domain experts who are innovating the fintech space with new technologies, a fresh perspective and new found energy while giving customers the flexibility and security that they need,” said CIOReview.

CIOReview is a leading technology publication that bridges the gap between enterprise IT vendors and buyers by providing insights and opinions of C-suite executives and leaders on the wide range of choices available in the tech arena.

“In an age where there is an influx of invoices, approving, and processing them manually is next to impossible. What FastPay brings to the table is a highly automated and algorithmic system to seamlessly manage tons of complex invoices making the process more smart and scalable,” said CIOReview. “They empower advertisers, agencies, media suppliers, and technology companies with smarter payments covering the entire media ecosystem, increased access to capital, and intelligent back-office workflows that improve efficiency and reduce cost.”

“We’re continually on the quest to better serve our media clients with advanced offerings such as our recently launched FastPay Network. It’s encouraging to see the team’s hard work recognized alongside some of the most innovative fintech companies in the industry,” said Rick Weir, VP of Marketing at FastPay. To learn more about our recent honor, check out the feature article here.

Can’t Live With Them, Can’t Live Without Them

Media finance professionals understand the complexity of the invoice to payment process. Suppliers often feel like banks, waiting for more than 110 days to be paid only to experience further delays with discrepancy resolution. Agencies have their hands full with a variety of payment terms, manual check writing, and have little incentive for paying suppliers quickly. The friction points are endless – until now.

We’re happy to introduce, FastPay Network, the industry’s first solution that bridges the gap between suppliers and agencies to deliver faster payments, automated workflow, and reduced costs. During the “You Can’t Live With Them, You Can’t Live Without Them” panel at the Media Finance Focus Conference, FastPay Chief Strategy Officer, David Frogel, announced that FastPay Network is the only platform-based solution linking suppliers and agencies to streamline and expedite media payments.

Industry experts, Breck Templeton of 9thWonder, Edward Mockus of Discovery, Frank Connolly of Viamedia, and Patrick Kennedy of AL Media sat down with David to explore the reality of agency and supplier friction points. “Payment terms are lengthening, and agencies can get caught in that pinch. There isn’t enough incentive for the agencies to pay faster. It’s a lot of data points to manage when using checks,” said Breck Templeton, Chief Financial Officer of 9thWonder. The other panelists agreed that radical change needs to be brought to the media payment cycle. “Both sides can benefit from compressing the cycle,” said Edward Mockus.

When discussing solutions to friction points, David Frogel said, “It’s not uncommon for a $50 discrepancy to hold up a $100k invoice. We’re creating solutions for suppliers that can eliminate issues with invoicing before discrepancies occur. If a necessary data point is off, our solution spots it and can resolve an invoicing issue before the invoice is even submitted. It’s the simple things that can actually move the needle in your overall DSO.”

FastPay Network is designed to connect suppliers and agencies so that suppliers gain more control over the AR process and agencies have an incentive for paying on net terms. Faster payment, better data, and greater visibility make accounts receivable more predictable, which means less friction for all.

If you’re a media supplier interested in getting your invoices paid in 30 or 60 days, see how you can join the network here.

Why AP Departments Should Digitize Their Payments

With the tech-savvy world we live in today, media agencies are facing increasing pressure to adapt and keep up with their trendsetting clients. Yet, in a recently commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting, it was found that media buying agencies are still making nearly ⅓ of their payments by check.

It’s true, there are some suppliers out there that only accept checks despite digital transformation across the industry, but for all the others, why do we remain in the dark ages? Especially when agency AP professionals report challenges such as these:

  • 52% experienced late payments
  • 51% encountered manual errors
  • 40% lost checks in the mail
  • 30% paid additional processing and material costs

Not only does this prove to be costly and time-consuming, but it also has the opportunity to damage a company’s reputation with both brands and media suppliers. With wide-reaching effects, it’s more important than ever for agencies to update their payment processes and embrace the world of digital payments.

Reduction in errors, improved process efficiency, cost savings and cost reduction – these are just some of the many benefits AP leaders have reported after making the transition to an electronic payments solution.

“Agencies have a unique opportunity to optimize their AP department and reinvent the ad purchasing process, it’s just a matter of time before we see this shift happen everywhere,” said Michael Wehner, General Manager and Senior Vice President of Payments.

Ready for your AP department to catch up with the times? Download the Forrester study: “It’s Time for Media Agencies to Digitize the last Mile of Payments.”

 

Who Run the World? Girls!

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re honored to highlight one of the many inspirational women working at FastPay – Danielle Baldaro.

As the sixth employee at the company, Danielle has been instrumental in building what FastPay is today. From laying the foundation in operations to developing the portfolio management team from scratch, she’s been a part of it all. But it hasn’t been without its difficulties.

Danielle went to school while working full time for a small asset-based lender, and after investing more than ten years she found herself reaching a glass ceiling. That didn’t stop her though. She continued to work hard and persevere in the competitive industry, and she’s now the VP of Portfolio Management at FastPay, working mother to three-year-old Hudson, and an inspirational leader admired by many.

“I have worked with Danielle for almost seven years now, and I can always, without fail, count on her. She never ceases to make me laugh and encourages me even on days when she’s stressed and busy,” said Scott Nelson, Marketing and Events Manager at FastPay.

Whether it’s in the office or at home, she leads by example in everything she does. Words of wisdom from the woman herself: “Work hard. Do your best. Be a champion for yourself. Don’t expect anything to be handed to you even if you work hard. You have to advocate for yourself and speak up, it’s up to you to make it happen,” said Danielle.

Shout out to Danielle and all of the amazing women who continue to rock it every day at FastPay! We’re very thankful for each and every one of you.