As often as possible, Ryan Companies uses vendors in the communities where it works. In 2013, the financial team was looking to further support the company’s vendors by offering them the option of getting paid faster.
Ryan Companies’ goal was to migrate to some form of electronic payment to help vendors improve their cash flow.
Ryan Companies is a designer, capital investment consultant, builder and real estate manager specializing in fully integrated solutions. Its key market sectors include retailers, healthcare, senior living, multifamily housing, industrial and corporate build-to-suit.
For more than 80 years, from their base in Minneapolis and offices across the country, the company’s experts in construction and commercial real estate (CRE) have put their hearts into creating spaces that bring clients’ stories to life. At Ryan, the mission is to “build value, build communities and build the backdrops for life.”
The company turned to U.S. Bank to implement a virtual card program that allows vendors to get paid within days of each transaction. The program has grown year over year and today enhances liquidity for about 1,000 vendors.
The vendors can use that improved liquidity to provide more and better services to both Ryan Companies and others in the communities the real estate firm serves. “Some of our vendors are smaller mom-and-pop shops, and everybody wants their money faster, right?” says Kathy Follese, Ryan’s accounts payable manager. “We want to build good vendor relationships, and Virtual Pay is a great platform for supporting their needs.”
At the same time, with virtual pay, Ryan takes advantage of the credit card billing cycle and grace period to hold onto its cash several weeks longer than if it paid by check.
With 1,000 vendors now accepting Virtual Pay payments, Ryan has also reduced a range of check-related costs and fees. “By transmitting the payment file directly to the bank, we’re eliminating postage costs and paper expenses related to checks,” Follese says.
Virtual Pay minimizes manual work for AP staff, which boosts productivity, she says. A good example is the time it saves Ryan on reissuing vendor payments. A staff member can reissue a card payment in seconds, compared to the lengthy process of reissuing a check where a staff member must void the item and execute a stop payment.
What’s more, Virtual Pay is helping Ryan minimize its fraud exposure. In the past, the company has had checks stolen, washed and turned into fraudulent items. Increasing its vendors’ participation in the Virtual Pay program has helped prevent that sort of fraud.
“In today’s world of cyber fraud, Virtual Pay is a secure method of payment,” Follese says. “The risk of fraud with virtual cards is next to nothing.”
In addition, the accounts payable unit at Ryan is earning rebates on its virtual card payments with game-changing ramifications. “We’re almost to the place where our rebate covers the entire cost of our A/P department,” Follese reports.
U.S. Bank made it easy to initiate the Virtual Pay program and has regularly helped Ryan Companies attract more vendor participation, France says. In kicking off the program, U.S. Bank used the Visa Supplier Matching Service to identify Ryan vendors already accepting card payments, singling them out as likely candidates for Virtual Pay. With that information in hand, the bank conducted the initial vendor outreach campaign, resulting in nearly 500 vendors agreeing to take card payments from Ryan.
Since the program’s inception, U.S. Bank has taken the lead on supplier enablement for Ryan, spearheading regular campaigns and more than doubling participation over time. Typically, campaigns have generated 100 or more new vendor participants.
- Kathy Follese, accounts payable manager, Ryan Companies
The Virtual Pay virtual card program is helping Ryan Companies build lasting vendor relationships, streamline day-to-day payment processing work, reduce fraud risk and forge an exciting new, revenue-generating role for Accounts Payable.
Follese says Ryan selected the right bank partner for the program. “I have worked with U.S. Bank while at several companies, and in my mind, they are the best bank for any type of card program,” she says. “When I think of card, I think of U.S. Bank.”
Ryan Companies has more than $3.5 billion in annual construction revenue and its real estate management team manages $5.4 billion worth of assets for institutional, corporate and entrepreneurial entities. With the help of U.S. Bank, the company’s business continues to grow.
Our relationship-focused virtual payments team is here to listen to your A/P needs and help you decide if electronic payment methods like Virtual Pay have a place in your process.