Originally appeared in PYMNTS.com

Although many already had a robust system in place beforehand, nearly half of the companies in the finance, insurance and healthcare have accelerated the digitization of payment processes and systems during the pandemic.

In fact, 48% of the companies in each of those industries fast-tracked payments digitization to improve balance sheets, according to “Business Payments Digitization,” a PYMNTS and Corcentric collaboration based on a survey of 400 chief financial officers (CFOs) that work at firms with $400 million to $2 billion in annual revenue.

Get the report: Business Payments Digitization

By comparison, only 39% of the CFOs in the travel and transportation industry, 36% in retail trade and 19% of those in industrial and manufacturing report that their companies accelerated the digitization of payment processes and systems.

The share of those in the finance and insurance industry and the healthcare and medical industry who undertook these projects after the pandemic began was higher, even though 23% of the former and 11% of the latter had a robust system in place.

Among the CFOs in the other three industries included in the survey, 13% of those in travel and transportation, 10% of those in retail trade and 9% of those in industrial and manufacturing said they did not fast-track payments digitization because they had a robust system in place.

Aiming to Improve Balance Sheets 

No matter the vertical, the pain points around the traditional order-to-cash cycle have been the same, Corcentric President and Chief Operating Officer Matt Clark told PYMNTS in a January.

Read more: As Business Payments Go Digital, Buyer-Supplier Relationships Get Stronger

But the pandemic, and distributed workforces, have necessitated other approaches, Clark said.

With platforms (such as the one on offer from Corcentric), said Clark, “the CFO owns more of the ‘world’ that operates in and around transaction processing and payments” and can get a better sense of balance sheet health.

That’s been the experience of the respondents to the PYMNTS survey that have gone digital. Seventy-one percent of those in finance and insurance and 64% of those in healthcare and medical said digitization is a “very” or “extremely” important strategy to improving balance sheets — compared to 60% of the respondents across all industries.

Reaping the Benefits of Digitization 

Indeed, PYMNTS research found that the companies that have implemented digitized payment processes are reaping the benefits of their investments. At least 8 in 10 respondents in the finance and insurance industry and the healthcare and medical industry reported that fast tracking payments digitization benefitted employee satisfaction, working capital and data security.

Digitization — which most CFOs in these industries consider to be transformational in nature — helps companies be more responsive to changes in the marketplace.

As was the case with their response to the pandemic-driven shift to workforces working remotely and the dramatic increase in eCommerce, the firms that are most nimble and able to adapt to changes will be best positioned to execute strategies that consider new economic realities.

To learn more about how companies from a wide range of industries are using payments digitization to transform their operations, download the report.