HAMILTON, N.J., Aug. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Billtrust, the leading outsourced billing services provider, today announced its first release of the Billtrust B2B Sales Index™. The Index, to be published monthly, is an indicator of current and trending U.S. economic conditions, based on a reliable sampling of business-to-business invoice activity.
Currently serving more than 1,000 corporate customers that represent over 250 million transactions and over $200 billion in annual receivables, Billtrust is a pioneer in the fast-growing e-billing industry. Its menu of services spans a range of paper and online billing channels for the delivery and payment of invoices and statements.
Billtrust's B2B Sales Index is developed by scientific assessment of data in a range of industries including hardware, plumbing, heating equipment, electrical goods, building supply and other wholesale trades. Firms included in the Index have more than three years of history with Billtrust. Further, firms with the lowest volatility in monthly sales were selected for inclusion.
The firms included in the Index generate aggregate invoice amounts of $17 billion per annum. The typical firm in the Index sends 11,000 invoices to 1,500 customers monthly.
"Billtrust serves customers at one of the most important and revealing points in the commerce chain—billing for goods and services. Our prominence in the industry gives us a real opportunity to offer market intelligence based on aggregated financial data," said Flint Lane, Billtrust Chief Executive Officer. "We believe the Billtrust B2B Sales Index will provide valuable economic insights to analysts, economists, the media, academia and the general public."
"The Billtrust B2B Sales Index provides good perspective on what is happening in a key, upstream economic sector and has the advantage of reporting the data fast," said Tom Sowanick, Co-President & Chief Investment Officer, OmniVest Group LLC. "There is interesting insight regarding the economy that I intend to disseminate to our clients."
"Billtrust is in the unusual position of creating and processing invoices for over 1,000 U.S.-based companies. This allows them to securely aggregate and analyze that information to predict the strength of B2B economic activity in the United States monthly," added Nancy Atkinson, Senior Analyst, Aite Group. "Consumer spend data is generally easier to obtain and report than B2B spend, but given the importance of small business growth to the U.S. economy, this data provides excellent insights."
Overseeing the new Billtrust B2B Sales Index is Arthur A. Ferri, Ph.D., Advanced Analytics Consultant for Billtrust. Ferri was formerly Associate Professor in the Finance and Economics Division of Columbia Business School. He holds a doctorate in finance and international business from NYU's Stern School of Business.
"The Billtrust B2B Sales Index summarizes monthly growth rates in invoice amounts from low-volatility firms. The Index appears to be a leading indicator of U.S. nominal GDP growth. In particular, we see a high correlation (0.79) when our time series of log-differences leads that of the GDP by two (2) quarters," Ferri said.
July 2013 Results and Discussion
The June and July time period represent the worst, two-month consecutive result observed from June 2010 to present.
June 2013 came in with a seasonally-adjusted growth rate of 0.04% vs. May. This compares to an average monthly growth rate of 0.76% for the prior 36 months. July came in at a seasonally-adjusted decrease of 1.30% vs. June. The July drop is 1.7 standard deviations below the historical average monthly growth rate. The combined June and July result contributes to the notion that the economy may be slowing ahead.
"Given the pessimistic view suggested by the Index and its apparent leading correlation with respect to nominal GDP, retailers and their suppliers may be wise to revise their forecasts regarding their all-important, November-December season," said Ferri.
To learn more about the Billtrust B2B Sales Index, visit www.billtrust.com/b2bsalesindex.
Headquartered in Hamilton NJ, Billtrust is a premier provider of outsourced billing solutions. Its products and services help companies' billing practices become "Customer-Centric," a concept that emphasizes flexible accommodation of customer needs. Billtrust's billing channels span paper, fax, e-mail, online billing (EBPP, EIPP, Invoice Central), eBanking and IVR. In addition, the company provides expert bill design, in-bill marketing services, and CustomerCare, an integrated online customer service portal. Billtrust's comprehensive tools automate the billing process so businesses can save money, increase productivity, improve cash flow, and seamlessly migrate to electronic delivery. For more information, visit Billtrust online at www.billtrust.com.