Now more than ever, businesses are turning to FinTech companies to automate and manage both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) payments. FinTech Global leader FLEETCOR saw a gap in the market, and took the opportunity to help companies automate, secure, digitize, and control payments to suppliers and by employees in the field.
“All businesses take payments (revenue) and make payments (expenses). Businesses make about $170 trillion in payments every year, often through outdated methods like checks or even cash. FLEETCOR simplifies the way businesses manage and pay their expenses – from the small to medium-sized business up to the enterprise level,” said FLEETCOR CFO Charles Freund.
“Our e-Payables solutions help businesses save time and increase security by automating both domestic and international back-office supplier payments in more than 140 currencies,” said Freund. “Our payment cards let front-line employees pay for all kinds of expenses, from lodging and other travel expenses, fuel, tolls, and parking, all while enabling the company to control and track these expenses.”
Some FLEETCOR e-Payables solutions include virtual cards, purchasing cards, and cross-border payments. The FinTech company also offers accounts payable (A/P) automation. Through a simple user interface (UI), FLEETCOR allows business clients to pay 100% of their entire accounts payable expenses digitally, including both domestic and international payables.
“In addition, our travel payment products provide best-in-class discounts at hotels for maximum savings and give travel managers insight into costs per room night for each employee,” said Freund. “In all cases, our solutions are tailored specifically to meet our customer’s needs.”
FLEETCOR stands out among competitors in the FinTech space for many reasons. The global business payments company has taken a unique approach to growth, both organically and through mergers and acquisitions (M&A).
“Organically, we have built an effective sales machine with broad distribution and digital marketing capabilities,” said Freund. “In addition, our “beyond” initiative is focused on growing our share of wallet by expanding the types of purchases that existing customers can make with their solutions. We ask all of our product group leaders to think of other services they can offer customers. For example, in Brazil, we have five million drivers who use our RFID tags to pay for tolls. Now, they can also use that same tag to pay at the McDonald’s drive-thru. Here in the US, we have expanded our fuel cards, when customers so desire, to pay for other company purchases at, say, Home Depot or Lowe’s. The idea is to increase customer spend and loyalty at the same time.”
What began 20 years ago as a $25 million dollar company on the brink of bankruptcy has grown into one of the largest publicly-traded companies in the United States, boasting a listing on Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500). FLEETCOR’s 2019 revenues exceeded $2.6 billion, representing a 22% compound average growth rate since its Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2010.
“With more than 80 successful acquisitions under our belt since our founding in 2000, we have really honed our M&A strategy,” said Freund. “First, we always develop a clear thesis on how we can accelerate growth within an acquired business. We have evaluated and acquired a lot of businesses through the years and have developed a blueprint on how to optimize products, pricing, and distribution to accelerate growth. We target companies where we believe we can double profits in three to four years. Second, we look for assets and opportunities to create revenue synergies across our portfolio. For example, we recently acquired Nvoicepay, a leader in full AP automation for businesses. With this acquisition, we can accelerate the growth of our Corporate Payments business by offering customers a simple way to manage all their accounts payable with one vendor.”
FLEETCOR also distinguishes itself from competitors with a positive workplace culture that contributes to the company’s overall success. Two of FLEETCOR’s core company values, innovation and execution, are at the heart of everything they do. This fosters a culture where employees feel empowered to offer ideas and strategies that benefit the workplace and drive success, while simultaneously emphasizing agile execution of those ideas, said Freund.
“When hiring, FLEETCOR CEO Ron Clarke specifically looks for people who are idea-centric with basic, figure-it-out instincts. He doesn’t want someone to see a problem and get concerned; he wants them to see a problem and become energized. FLEETCOR’s “beyond” strategy was created with this in mind: We are always emphasizing that our employees should be thinking of other services they can offer their
existing customers, and our leadership is ready to hear any and all ideas they have. And, when we do hear a particularly great idea, we execute quickly. The FLEETCOR culture is all about focusing on a few top priorities, building a plan to make them happen, and not getting sidetracked on less important activities. This mentality has enabled FLEETCOR, an S&P 500 company, to operate more like a small, agile firm, which employees appreciate.”
Freund said that today, the B2B payments sector is evolving faster than ever, and FLEETCOR is helping to shape it. Banks have historically owned the payments landscape, but now the smaller, more nimble FinTech companies like FLEETCOR’s go-to-market brands are disrupting the industry through innovation. These FinTechs are launching new products and technologies that aim to serve mid-market and small business customers, segments often underserved by banks.
“Because of this, we will remain laser-focused on what we know and do best – business payments. Corporate payments has a long runway with many subsegments, which means there is a lot more within the current scope of what we’re doing that we can expand upon.”
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many corporations to rethink their business strategies, as they sought digital, contactless payments. This proved beneficial for FinTech companies like FLEETCOR, which offered solutions for businesses to pay and manage expenses remotely. Freund thinks this will likely be a permanent change.
“With over $1.5 billion in available liquidity, FLEETCOR continues to actively look for acquisitions and aggressively chase deals that add scale to existing businesses, enable reach into new segments, or provide new or enhanced capabilities and services,” said Freund.
As 2020 draws to a close, FLEETCOR celebrates its 20th anniversary and 10th year as a publicly-traded company. Earlier this year, FLEETCOR created a formal sustainability working group consisting of internal and external resources to assess environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors material to their business.
“Our commitment to fostering an inclusive culture has never been more important,” said Freund. “In light of recent events, FLEETCOR is especially proud of our geographically and ethnically diverse employee base. Women represent more than 50% of our global workforce and women or minorities comprise more than 70% of our U.S. workforce. This diversity enhances our personal work experiences and boosts our company’s performance.”
2020 also marked the one-year anniversary of FLEETCOR’s new headquarters in an energy-efficient building recognized with a LEED certification in Buckhead – the heart of Atlanta’s business district. The company’s continued success is more than just financial. FLEETCOR also continues to drive positive change through environmental sustainability, culture and diversity, and corporate responsibility.
“FLEETCOR’s focus on sustainable business practices is critical to both our success and our workplace culture, said Freund. “Our products and services enable companies to reduce their respective carbon footprint, save time and money, and refocus their energies on more meaningful business pursuits. Our Board of Directors, management team, and diverse workforce all support our vision of a future where every payment is digital, every purchase is controlled, and every business decision is informed.”