From real-time payments to straight-through processing of reconciliations,and from extended terms to emerging options such asvirtual cards, payments innovation is one ofthe hottest topics in corporate treasury today. That explains whythe competition was fierce in this year's contest for the AlexanderHamilton Awards in Working Capital & Payments.

The companies that stood out from the crowd were those that notonly pursued leading-edge technologies and ideas, but alsotransformed processes in an effort to standardize and centralizepayments. "[Our] new process is very streamlined," says Jeff May,former supervisor for global treasury at Amway. "Like always, thereare exceptions. In certain countries, local requirements mandatethat specific payments go through processes that are not ourstandard workflow. But for the vast majority of our payments aroundthe world, we've eliminated a lot of unnecessary steps that used towaste time and cause payment delays in our legacy environment."

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