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Point of no return: Digital business onboarding is here to stay

Defining and executing processes for online business onboarding don’t come easy, but will improve earnings, reduce cost and bring a smile to your customer's face.

Anti money laundering in the spotlight

Change is nothing new in business onboarding, the rapid introduction of new and enhanced processes around KYC, CDD, AML and other regulations have kept B2B companies busy for years, leaving many companies scrambling to meet new demands, as they have been forced to keep track of the ever changing regulatory landscape and adopt.

What once was a fairly simple, manual process has grown in complexity over the years, and the formerly so straightforward task of onboarding a new or existing business customer is now time consuming and filled with details you don’t dare to neglect, let alone can afford to ignore.

Combatting money laundering is not a new invention, FAFT (the Finance Action Task Force) was founded back in the late eighties, to handle the growing problem with money laundering and to put a spotlight on the problem. The intergovernmental organisation set standards and promotes implementation on legal and regulatory measures for combatting money laundering and terrorist financing. The organisation is constantly identifying methods for tightening and removing loopholes, that otherwise might attract shady business.

Know your business customer, how hard can it be?

To combat money laundering, companies must perform risk assessments, implement policies and controls and ensure that these are complied with. When onboarding a new or existing business customer, a proper due diligence process is required, where everything from identity verification of board members to financial monitoring of the company can and will be scrutinized. And it seldom stops here, even company staff are in many cases subject to background screening to fulfil AML and KYC obligations.

It goes without saying that this is a lot of work, and a lot of information to process, especially for larger corporations. And there is no going back. Luckily there are solutions and methods out there that automates and digitalises it all. Processes for onboarding a business online are a bit more complex and challenging than regular B2C onboarding, but the basics are the same and there are many similarities to learn from and take advantage of. Automated business onboarding is, for many, a new way of working and there are challenges, both for early adopters, breaking new grounds and for late bloomers, but market expectations are clear. As a business you need to keep up and develop processes for digital onboarding, where effectiveness is key. A majority of your business customers expects a smooth, fast, flawless and secure online onboarding experience.

Willingness to invest is fundamental

Research shows that there is a willingness among companies to spend money and invest in digital solutions that can handle business onboarding. Research also shows that it is wise to make these investments, rather sooner than later. Not only will it save huge amounts of both money and time, but you will also, most likely, keep your business customer and your relationship will thrive. If you neglect to go digital, your business customer might take their business elsewhere. That is unfortunately the harsh truth. Companies offering convenience and great digital user experience, often win over traditional companies, who insist on offering a tedious and labour intense process, with lots of manual intervention. Loyalty is a fresh product, not to be tampered with.

Defining a new strategy for digital onboarding is not an option, it’s a necessity. The pattern is clear, regardless of country. Whether you like it not, you are past the point of no return.