Achieving Financial Security for the 2022 Midterm Cycle

We recently hosted a webinar in conjunction with the AAPC and FreeWheel on helping agencies financially prepare for the 2022 off-cycle elections. With over $9B in projected spending at both the state and local levels, agencies need to be preparing now so that they’re ready to hit the ground running next year.

We sat down with executives from agencies that work on both sides of the aisle as well as our technology partners at FreeWheel to discuss best practices for next year. The panel covers:

  1. Managing the cash flow of both your agencies and your clients
  2. How to handle the last-minute nature of political advertising and how technology can alleviate that stress
  3. What agencies and suppliers can expect as the season accelerates

FastPay also recently announced the launch of our first-of-its-kind Political+ offering for political agencies. Political+ provides agencies with a seamless end-to-end Strata integration, premium automated check delivery, and automated FastPay Network refunds. If you’re interested in learning more about Political+, you can set up a meeting with a member of our team here.

Preparing for 2022 with TVB: Forward

FastPay recently (virtually) attended TVB: Forward and it was a fantastic experience! FastPay was a proud sponsor of the event and hosted a panel on the 2022 Gubernatorial races.

2022 will no doubt be a competitive election year. Gubernatorial races are taking place in 36 states, as well as House and Senate elections. The razor-thin majority differential in Congress means that every seat has the potential to flip control of both chambers. As competitive races up and down the ballot begin to prepare and execute ad campaigns, AdImpact projects that next year’s spending will hit $9B like it did in 2020, even without a presidential election. 

Despite the growing footprint of digital media, AdImpact expects broadcast to capture the lion’s share of spending this cycle. Reports show that candidates keep consistently turning to broadcast TV as their campaigns draw to a close. These ads serve to both get a candidate’s message out as well as potentially earning them a large share of earned media. 

Unfortunately, not all media has kept up technologically, with most major traditional media outlets still requiring paper checks or the use of clunky online portals. That’s why we created the FastPay Network. FastPay Network is an enhanced direct deposit network of both media agencies and suppliers that serves as an alternative to manual payment processes. To explain how FastPay Network can help you with your company’s accounts receivable process during the election cycle, we put together this video to help.

Congratulations to the 2021 Reed Award Winners!

FastPay at Nationals Park

For two days the very best political campaign professionals from across the world converge in one city for the Reed Awards & Conference. It’s an opportunity to reconnect, forge new relationships, dive into key issues affecting the industry, and celebrate the best campaign work from the preceding year, all while enjoying the industry’s social event of the year.

FastPay would like to congratulate all of the winners of this year’s awards. We’re proud to say that 7 FastPay clients brought home 26 awards across a swath of categories last night.

We’re also excited to use the conference to announce our recent end-to-end integration with FreeWheel’s Strata platform, the go-to media buying tool for political agencies nationwide. There is a projected $9B in political advertising up for grabs in the 2022 election season, and the new integration helps automate the payment and reconciliation processes for agencies so they can focus on the work that matters.

If you’re interested in learning more about how FastPay helps political agencies streamline, secure, and monetize their media buying process, reach out to us here. 

FastPay Integrates with FreeWheel’s Strata Platform to Streamline Media Payments Ahead of the Next Political Campaign Cycle

 

FastPay is proud to announce an integration with FreeWheel’s Strata platform that is set to further streamline and automate the media buying process for agencies nationwide. This will be especially valuable to political agencies in advance of the next political season. With a record-breaking $9B in political advertising projected for the 2022 off-cycle election, expediting advertising payments has become even more important for campaigns, agencies, and media suppliers. 

The integration with the Strata system works seamlessly with FastPay’s ePay platform to help agencies automate and monetize the last mile of their media buying process. The integration has two major components:

  1. Cleared media buys can now be sent electronically from the Strata platform over to FastPay through an API that streamlines the user workflow.
  2. Payments to vendors, in the form of VCC, ACH, or check are released via FastPay with users being notified automatically.

“This integration was a priority for our political customer base, giving agencies the opportunity to simplify their accounting operations and streamline their media buying process for the 2022 election,” said FastPay General Manager Secil Baysal. “Any move to save our agencies time during the cycle is welcome but the ability to connect to the source of the most widely used media stewardship system for political agencies is a home run. We listened to our clients and truly understand the FastPay Network integration was also a major success with our clients for the 2020 election, and we’re excited to offer that same service to our clients using the Strata platform.”

“This integration with FastPay empowers our mutual political clients to streamline their payments and focus on what they do best,” said Al Behmoiras, Account Director at FreeWheel. “FreeWheel and FastPay’s experience in the political media landscape allows us to truly understand the needs of these clients.”

The integration is currently available to users of FastPay ePay and FreeWheel’s Strata platform.  You can schedule a meeting with a member of the FastPay team here.

AvidXchange Welcomes FastPay

AvidXchange Welcomes FastPay as an AvidXchange Company, Extending Its Vertical Expertise Within the Media Industry

 

Charlotte, NC (July 12, 2021) – AvidXchange, the leading provider of accounts payable (AP) and payment automation solutions for the middle market, today announced that FastPay, a leading provider of payments automation solutions for the media industry, is joining AvidXchange. Through this deal, AvidXchange expands its portfolio of automated payments technologies and services to middle market companies across the media landscape in the U.S.

Founded in 2009, FastPay leverages proprietary technology and analytics to offer a portfolio of solutions with access to more than 70,000 media suppliers in its database. FastPay addresses inefficient payment processes and long payment terms experienced across the industry by brands, agencies and media suppliers. 

“FastPay’s expertise and purpose-built set of payments automation solutions for the media industry are what excited us about the potential to have FastPay become a part of AvidXchange,” said Michael Praeger, CEO and Co-Founder of AvidXchange. “We work hard to identify companies that service specific verticals across the middle market, with an interest in those that have developed and continue to enhance their technologies to better the day-to-day finance operations of its customers. This is exactly what FastPay delivers, supported by a very talented team with deep media industry expertise.”

“We’ve spent more than 10 years developing our products based on the needs of the evolving media industry landscape, and we’re thrilled to join the AvidXchange family as the next step in our continued growth,” said Jed Simon, CEO of FastPay. “FastPay and AvidXchange share similar core values with relentless focus on the success of both our clients and teammates.”

FastPay will become known as “FastPay, an AvidXchange company” officially today, making it the newest business to join the AvidXchange family, and will be led by Secil Baysal who will take on the role of SVP/GM of Media.  Other recent acquisitions include Core Associates (“Core Associates, an AvidXchange company”), the makers of TimberScan and complementary AP solutions trusted by more than 30,000 construction industry professionals nationwide; and BankTEL (“BankTEL, an AvidXchange company”), a provider of accounting solutions to more than 20 percent of banks across the U.S.

Paul Hastings LLP represented AvidXchange in connection with the deal. Financial Technology Partners LP and FTP Securities LLC (“FT Partners”) served as the exclusive financial and strategic advisor to AvidXchange in this transaction. Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc. served as exclusive financial advisor and Goodwin Procter LLP served as legal advisor to FastPay.

To learn more about FastPay, visit www.gofastpay.com.

###

About AvidXchange™
AvidXchange is the industry leader in automating invoice and payment processes for mid-market businesses with 1,500 employees supporting more than 7,000 customers across North America. AvidXchange processed 53 million transactions with over $145 billion in spend under management in 2020 and has paid more than 700,000 suppliers through its network over the last five years. To learn more about how AvidXchange is transforming the way companies pay their bills, visit www.AvidXchange.com.

Media contact:
Olivia Sorrells
osorrells@avidxchange.com
980-643-7889

MPF 2021: Return to Growth – Why Financial Automation is Critical For Every Agency’s Growth Plan

 

In this fireside chat, FastPay sat down with Kevin Sweeney, CFO of Allen & Gerritsen to discuss the top financial concerns of agencies as they continue the path towards growth. FastPay shares newly released proprietary data on the state of financial health of agencies and dives into several topics including sequential liability, automation best practices, agency and supplier payment terms, and more specifically, how agencies can use financial automation tools to improve cash-flow.

 

This webinar was originally hosted at the 4A’s Management Practitioners Forum.

 

Are You Getting Everything from Your AP Department?

 

69% of accounts payable professionals are looking for “smarter” systems that drive more efficiencies, with COVID-19 hammering home the issues that AP departments were formerly able to sweep under the rug. [1]

There are a lot of expectations from the accounts payable department. They handle the outflow of cash for brands, along with countless invoices that are processed for media suppliers, contractors, and others. These people are indispensable, and yet often forgotten when it comes to improving the business. 

Despite all of the advances in business technology, this is one area that is still quite antiquated when it comes to processes and practices. Fortunately, things are slowly changing and evolving, creating better automation, security, and revenue-sharing capabilities. You can reduce manual workflows, improve operations and profits, and ensure streamlined operations with the right tools and integrations. 

Do You Have an Inefficient AP Department?

Companies sometimes don’t even realize how inefficient their various departments and processes have become. It’s important to take stock of where things stand and how effective the current operations are. The AP department should be able to process invoices and payments promptly, handle all aspects of billing and payments, and ensure that everything is done in accordance with compliance laws and company regulations. 

However, according to Ardent Partners’ “AP Metrics that Matter in 2021” report, AP departments struggle with a 25% invoice exception rate and an average of 10 days to process a single invoice. Without the right tools, no AP department is going to continue to grow and provide more efficient solutions for businesses that are looking to take things to the next level. Things like too many physical invoices, complex manual processes, and other inefficient habits are holding AP departments back around the country– is yours one of them?

Automate Your AP Department

Automation is going to change the way that your AP department functions, just as it has done for the rest of the business landscape. For the AP department, the best choice is a forward-thinking and customizable payment processing solution that can automate all the details. For example, FastPay’s SitePay technology is designed to auto-fill forms and manage supplier payment portals, which reduces the time and risk of human error in making invoice payments.

When brands automate with the assistance of a dedicated payment processing platform, they will also see a much higher revenue share, thanks to both improved processing and the assistance of third-party solutions. Plus, you can integrate all of this automation with your accounting and media buying platforms while gaining the best security and satisfaction available today. 

Remote Access and More

Modern technology solutions should enable you to manage your entire accounts payable department functions remotely. As the nationwide shutdown showed, business continuity is one of the most important features that a company should use as a qualifier for new software vendors. Your solution should add revenue to your bottom line and let you track payments, invoices, and outstanding bills from anywhere.

You Get What You Give

Most brands don’t realize that their company is lagging and no one is answering the call for assistance. Most AP departments are actively looking for solutions to their workflow problems, and more than happy to onboard and integrate technology to ease their workloads. 

A good tech stack is about optimizing, automating, and security. If your brand is ready to embrace the future of digital solutions, there’s no better place to start. 

[1] Ardent Partners AP Metrics that Matter 2021 Report

 

5 Mistakes Companies Make When Bringing Their Media Buying In-House

As more companies are bringing their media buying in-house in an attempt to regain control over their budgets and operations, there are a lot of considerations to be had. It’s a process that takes time and dedication, and too often companies move too quickly and make unnecessary mistakes.  

As more brands are striving to bring their buying in-house, there are some challenges and mistakes that you will want to avoid. 

Lack of Knowledge and Planning

69% of brands in the US have taken some or all of their media buying in-house, despite the fact most companies don’t fully understand the complexities of the media landscape. Too often, brands try to dive in without taking the time to fully understand what they’re getting into. It’s important to define metrics and gather insights by media channel to craft achievable goals and ensure your media buying programs are geared for success. 

Choosing the Wrong Software

Again, hasty adoptions and hurried RFPs often keep companies from considering all of the options. It’s crucial to choose the right media buying AND payments platform, which means having one that offers:

  • Automated payment method optimization
  • Transparency
  • Effective targeting
  • Detailed insights and analytics
  • Media ecosystem knowledge

Lack of Time and Resource Commitment

When moving to in-house media buying, it’s important to make sure that you have the time to fully commit to the process. First, everything should be planned well ahead of time. Moving your media buying in-house isn’t an investment with immediate results. It takes time, so companies must have that time to commit if they are going to succeed. 

For example, companies bringing buying in-house will need to onboard a new tech stack, find new talent or training existing employees, define project workflows and approvals, and set up effective tracking and analytics. Talent is far and away the biggest hurdle, with nearly three in four brands, agencies, and publishers saying that finding quality talent is a challenge.

Purchasing Media Instead of Audiences

Key to campaign ROI and brand success is knowing which audiences to target. It’s not about buying the right ads or choosing the ideal media– it’s about finding the audience. Brands must utilize programmatic marketing and real-time bidding, which will provide the opportunity to find the right people to convert. They must also consider all media channels to reach that audience efficiently.  The right blend of digital and traditional advertising channels are key to achieve awareness and conversion goals.

Brands that just buy their media without properly defining where their audience lives are simply burning money. Companies that want to make money need to target the right people

Looking at the Wrong Metrics

It’s an all too common statement: “First, we were asking our agency how to get data. Now we’re asking them for help on how to use and interpret this data.” When companies are trying to calculate ROI in relation to media buying, there is an entirely different set of analytics that needs to be on their radar. Your most valuable metrics are ones that provide a perspective of where customers are in the sales funnel and how their journey proceeds. Having total control of this data is invaluable for a team navigating a fragmented marketplace.

The Solution

There’s a lot that goes into planning a capable program when you decide to bring media buying in-house. Companies need to find partners and solutions that help them maximize their success with this transition, including payment processors and media buying platforms. The primary focus of brands looking to bring their media buying in-house should be streamlining and cost savings, and creating the right tech stack will make or break their investment in this endeavor.

Businesses should take the time to plan a detailed strategy for transitioning to in-house media buying. It will ensure there is a seamless transition and that the switch is actually worth the investment for the business. With the right time investment and planning, brands will enjoy the benefits of taking media buying in-house without the hassles and headaches of working with and managing a third party.

7 Questions to Ask Your Political Payments Provider

7QuestionsBlogHeader

 

1. Are they fully dedicated to political media agencies? Only FastPay has more than 10 years experience processing political media with an entire support and operations team dedicated to ensuring every payment is processed correctly. We understand the urgency and complexities of political workflow, in fact the ePay platform was built specifically for political pre-pay and expedited payments that have no invoice.

2. How much political media have they successfully processed? In 2020 FastPay processed more  than a billion dollars in political media across 75,000+ transactions to thousands of national and  local media suppliers. 

3. How are they investing in the product and tools to make your life easier? FastPay spends the off cycle continually improving the ePay platform with new features and tools to ensure the election  season runs smoothly and flawlessly. We seamlessly integrate with all major accounting systems including Quickbooks, built with more fields to save you valuable time during the cycle. 

4. Are they fully dedicated to customer support and client success? FastPay has an entire support team of operation specialists, business analysts, and client success managers to support political media agencies when things get crazy.

5. How can they help you with reconciliation? Post election always brings an influx of reconciliation and refund activities. Having easily accessible information and reporting to support your reconciliation needs is essential. Only FastPay provides:

  • Proof of payment easily accessible for agencies to send to suppliers.
  • Bank reconciliation reports that tie back to card payments. 
  • Status on refund activities.

6. Are they building a sustainable ecosystem? How do they treat suppliers? FastPay reinvests in our technology for agencies AND suppliers. We have a team of payment specialists who manage supplier relationships to keep them happily accepting cards, or we strike mutually beneficial deals so they recognize the value that can be delivered in automated payments. Our suppliers are coming to us to broaden the scope of their agreements, not waiting for the expiration date to lapse. 

7. How many media suppliers do they have in their network? Only FastPay has access to more than 70,000 media suppliers with the latest payment terms, acceptance status, and contacts to make sure we maximize your total captured spend to deliver the highest revenue share. We have forged exclusive agreements with over 150 suppliers that only our agencies can access.

 

10 Reasons Agencies Switch to FastPay

1. FastPay offers a Total AP Solution, managing all payment methods and optimizing your payments for the highest revenue share.

2. No Tier Payments System: Your rates do not change based on volume.

3. 28% average lift in payment volume for agencies that have switched to FastPay.

4. FastPay is a media specific solution. Our competitors service all industries, diminishing their ability to service the unique complexities of media.

5. Our global database TROVE has been built over 10+ years and contains nuanced acceptance criteria for over 70,000 suppliers garnering us the highest acceptance of any media payments providers. In a recent analysis, a competitive payment solution missed 45% of payments to known card accepting suppliers.

6. FastPay monetizes ALL payments, regardless of size, through automation and custom-built technology while other solutions using manual card entry miss smaller volume transactions.

7. FastPay Network provides agencies a new payment method to access hundreds of suppliers and millions of dollars left un-monetized by other providers.

8. FastPay Offers 24/7 dedicated account management who are incentivized to expand supplier acceptance to grow your account.

9. Our SitePay technology accesses hundreds of supplier portals to automate secure payments within minutes of payment upload.

10. Integrations with all major media accounting systems including API, FTP and custom file uploads.

By automating and streamlining our payment operations with FastPay ePay, we have made that process better, faster, and easier. That is a great thing. FastPay was the best fit for our business because it offered greater flexibility than our existing solution and was developed to meet the specific needs of our industry.”Mike Babel, Senior Vice President, Swanson Russell