The payment process in the construction industry can be tedious and complex, but solution providers are coming to market with software that will make the review and approval of payments a little bit easier.

Specifically, integration between ERP (enterprise-resource planning) software and electronic-payments technology can help increase efficiencies during the construction-payment process. An electronic-payment platform allows owners and general contractors to view invoices and assess items such as lien waivers and insurance certification, among others.

By connecting an ERP system with an electronic-payments platform, owners and general contractors can ensure a more effective process for paying for services and materials.

One recent example comes from Viewpoint Construction Software, www.viewpointcs.com, Portland, Ore. The ERP provider has partnered with Comdata, www.comdata.com, Brentwood, Tenn., and T-Chek, www.tchek.com, Eden Prairie, Minn., which provide electronic payment and processing solutions.

The integration enables a more secure and effective process for paying vendors. In addition, the partnerships will allow contractors to pay vendors using MasterCard through the new Viewpoint V6 Virtual Payment MasterCard solution, which has functionality to set limits on dollar values and expiration dates for every account number.

According to Viewpoint Construction Software, the virtual payment solution requires little change to the current AP (accounts payable) processes. Additionally, eliminating costs associated with manual methods for payment can improve profit for a construction company.

Beyond the integration capabilities for payment and the new virtual payment solution, Viewpoint Construction Software has also announced other new features in its latest V6 product release. New functionality has been added to the Job Billing module to move bills to a future month.

The Viewpoint Connects navigation and Web interface has also been updated to increase collaboration and communication capabilities. Viewpoint Construction Software has also updated AP to comply with a new ATO (Australian Taxation Office) requirement.

Specifically with regards to the payment process, the combination of the increased efficiencies and added value to the bottomline can be big reasons why contractors consider using technology.

e-Builder, www.e-builder.net, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., also recently announced expanded payment processing capabilities in its technology. A new Application for Payment capability allows owners to manage the administrative work associated with reviewing, reconciling, approving, and paying invoices.

Other new and upgraded capabilities in the e-Builder Enterprise 7.13 release include advanced funding-management functionality and a new e-Builder Community for sharing knowledge.

For both owners and contractors, the payment process can be cumbersome—especially if it is being done manually or with spreadsheets. Taking advantage of updated capabilities in existing software—or choosing to implement new technology to manage payments—can open doors to innovative opportunities in business.