Why 2019 is the Year for Companies to Address Working Capital Challenges to Avoid 2020 Crisis

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from PJ Bain, CEO of PrimeRevenue.

In my opinion, if companies don’t get aggressive in how they manage their working capital and mitigate challenges associated with free cash flow in 2019, it will be to the detriment of the global economy in 2020 and 2021.

“Hello transformation. Meet reality.” Those four words sum up where the global business climate has taken us in the last year, and where it will lead us going into 2020. Whether in the context of industry or geopolitical transformation, the economic implications of transformative change have exposed vulnerability. How can companies fund transformation in an economic climate that’s equal parts encouraging and concerning?

Despite macroeconomic trends such as U.S. trade policy yielding new tariffs on raw materials like steel (25%) and aluminum (10%), and a looming Brexit, the global economy has boomed, but uncertainty is on the rise. If the last year was all about transformation, the next two years will be all about finding the cash to fuel it despite anticipated volatility across many aspects of business. Trends that will drive increased interest in improving working capital include:

  • Companies are over leveraged.  There is a total of $19.5 trillion in global corporate debt and not all balance sheets can afford to take on more of it. It’s time to diversify both short-term and long-term funding sources. Globally, supply chain finance, known as reverse factoring, represents the best alternative to source cash at a low cost without incurring debt on the balance sheet.
  • A more complete realization of the impact of new tariffs. Industries like automotive, construction and solar are already rationalizing their supplier bases as a result of new tariffs implemented in 2018. In 2019, the impact is spreading while Chinese tariffs are dominating the conversation of uncertainty. Procurement teams will need to respond to new disruptions and new suppliers – both of which could drive up costs. In some cases, companies have let it be known that they are considering shifting manufacturing plants to non-tariff locations such as Vietnam instead of China. We’ve seen that from our own customers already this year.
  • The restructuring of key trade agreements. CPTPP and USMCA (formerly NAFTA) are just two international trade agreements that were top of mind in 2018 and continue to spark uncertainty in 2019.  Companies are looking for ways to mitigate the potential financial impact of these changes and minimize any negative impacts across their supplier bases. Freeing up working capital is going to be key to this mitigation.
  • More meaningful collaboration with suppliers. Whether it’s a new product or joint working capital initiatives, the transformation happening across many industries will require unprecedented collaboration between suppliers and buyers.
  • The skyrocketing cost of logistics. Freight costs are on the rise, especially in the U.S. where driver shortages continue to plague the market. Companies are seeing price increases of 10 to 15% (or more) now and into the coming year. The UK might see significant cargo price increases due to haulage capacity shortages. Mitigating these cost increases is a procurement imperative.
  • The rise of cognitive procurement. Big data, AI and innovation in fintech will power new decision-making capabilities and agility in procurement – but this will require companies to pay more attention to benchmark data. One example is payment terms. What is the optimal payment term for suppliers in a certain industry, of a certain size and/or in a particular geography? How does a company’s existing terms stack up to industry benchmarks, and how do you reconcile any gaps in a way that doesn’t harm suppliers?

Working Capital in 2019 and 2020

The reality of a record $4.3 trillion in U.S. corporate debt (lower-quality corporate loans and high-yield bonds) and the $19.5 trillion in global corporate debt will start to set in which means corporations would do well to broaden their funding mix. I envision the rest of 2019 and into 2020 will be the time for companies to mitigate the potential long-term risks and challenges associated with uncertainty — creating shifts that will have a big impact in 2020 and 2021. We’re already halfway through 2019, so there’s not much time left to make an impact.

As we all know, the economy’s health is cyclical. In my opinion, if companies don’t get aggressive in how they manage their working capital and mitigate challenges associated with free cash flow in 2019, it will be to the detriment of the global economy in 2020 and 2021.

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Stephanie Wargo

VP, Global Head of Marketing

Stephanie joined PrimeRevenue in 2015 and oversees the company’s global marketing team and strategy. With a data-driven approach, Stephanie focuses on demand generation and thought leadership to drive brand awareness, strengthen client/partner relationships, and generate new sales opportunities. Stephanie has guided PrimeRevenue through new technology releases and an evolving FinTech landscape. In addition to leading PrimeRevenue’s internal and external communications, she implemented innovative demand generation and marketing strategies to enhance the company’s overall sales pipeline.

Stephanie has extensive experience in marketing and customer success. She previously served as Vice President of Marketing and Communications at BitPay and Vice President of Client Relations and Marketing at FirstView Financial. Stephanie earned a B.A. degree in Political Science from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.

Brian Medley

VP, Global Head of Sales

Brian joined PrimeRevenue in early 2012, after more than 20 years of sales leadership, executive-level consultant and business growth experience. As VP, Global Head of Sales, Brian leads a growing team of fintech sales professionals with a focus on developing strong customer relationships, improving sales predictability and helping PrimeRevenue enter the lucrative mid-market.

Prior to PrimeRevenue, Brian honed his enterprise software sales leadership skills at Clarus Corporation. He also served as an operations and IT management consultant for Kurt Salmon Associates. In addition to his sales and consulting background, Brian has deep experience in the financial industry having founded a successful residential mortgage broker and lending business. He is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology having earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and Economics and M.B.A. in Global Business.

Jason Green

SVP, Global Customer Success

Jason joined PrimeRevenue in 2021 following more than two decades in the fintech/financial services industry. He brings a strong background is sales leadership due to his impressive relationship building capability as well as a successful track record in creating structure and process improvements. In his role, Jason uses his keen attention to detail to strengthen the customer experience and enhance the company’s solutions to deliver more value to clients.

Prior to joining the company, Jason held several senior level and executive roles with a focus on building and scaling sales and support organizations at both large and small companies. Jason graduated from Murray State University with a B.S in Marketing.

Matt Ford

SVP, Global Product Innovation

Matt joined PrimeRevenue in early 2015 and is responsible for overseeing all commercial, strategic and operational aspects of PrimeRevenue’s supply chain finance offerings throughout EMEA, based in Prague. He has been instrumental in gaining global alignment and developing supplier enablement processes for the region.

Matt joined PrimeRevenue following a 15-year career at Morgan Stanley, where he worked in fixed income operations covering debt syndication through bonds, EMTNS, corporate loans and other debt securitization. Notably, he set up non-core location operations in Europe (Budapest) and all lending operations in Baltimore from scratch.

Matt, who was born and raised in South East England, earned a B.S. in Sports Science at University of Teesside where he mastered the art of TEAM development and accountability as a youth international rugby player.

Dominic Capolongo

EVP, Global Head of Funding

Dominic joined PrimeRevenue in 2016, and is responsible for leading our bank and capital markets funding strategies and execution. He focuses on building global, scalable and highly efficient funding structures that maximize options for supporting PrimeRevenue’s programs. Dominic began his career as an attorney and was a partner with Kaye Scholer before joining DLJ as a senior banker. Dominic brings tremendous strategic and capital markets experience in all areas of finance having held senior positions at, among others, Credit Suisse and RBC Capital Markets in addition to DLJ. Dominic earned a JD from Fordham University School of Law and a BA from SUNY Binghamton.

Gavin Cicchinelli

Chief Operating Officer

Gavin joined PrimeRevenue as Chief Operating Officer in 2021. With more than two decades of leadership and executive experience along with a deep understanding of the payments space, Gavin provides a unique focus on improving and strengthening operational strategies and implementing GTM growth execution. He is responsible for leading transformation across corporate and operational strategies as well as building a repeatable and scalable commercial growth strategy that aligns with PrimeRevenue’s core business while delivering key adjacent growth opportunities.

Prior to joining PrimeRevenue, Gavin served as President and Chief Revenue Officer of Integrated Solutions at TSYS, a global payment processing services company acquired by Global Payments (NYSE:GPN). There, he also served as Head of Product and divisional COO. Throughout his career, Gavin has held multiple leadership positions including VP of Sales, SVP of Business Development, and President of Financial Institutions. Gavin graduated from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley.

David Quillian

Chief Legal Officer

David joined PrimeRevenue as General Counsel in 2007. He and his team have been instrumental in successfully creating the unique legal structures that support PrimeRevenue’s multi-funder model and global funding capabilities. David is also the lead named inventor on PrimeRevenue’s two patents for Electronic Time Drafts, which allow PrimeRevenue to manage supply chain finance programs using electronic negotiable instruments as opposed to accounts receivable. Prior to PrimeRevenue, David was General Counsel at Harbor Payments, which was acquired by American Express (AXP) in 2006, and Magnet Communications, which was acquired by Digital Insight (DGIN) in 2003. He holds degrees in Economics and History from Duke University, and Juris Doctor and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Georgia.

Nathan Feather


Nathan has successfully ushered PrimeRevenue from our very early days as a visionary startup, through the financial crisis to today’s position as a thriving mid-sized leader in the cloud-enabled supply chain finance marketplace since joining PrimeRevenue in January 2006. He was instrumental in recapitalizing the company with an $80M investment led by BBH Capital Partners in 2015. Prior to PrimeRevenue, he held various financial management roles with Ariba, Freemarkets and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Nathan holds a BS in Accounting from Pennsylvania State University.

PJ Bain


PJ has an impressive and accomplished track record as an enterprise software entrepreneur and executive. PJ has built a solid record of success with PrimeRevenue since being appointed Chief Executive Officer in July of 2009. The company has received numerous awards for growth, customer service, innovation, along with being recognized as a top employer.

PJ is a life-long software and technology entrepreneur having been involved in numerous firms in the roles of founder, executive, advisor and investor. Immediately prior to PrimeRevenue, PJ was the VP and General Manager of Exact Holding N.V. (NYSE/AMS: EXACT), a leading global provider of business software solutions. He was previously Founder and CEO of Inspired Solutions, an Atlanta-based, B2B software and services firm that grew to be the largest reseller of Exact Software in North America, later acquired by Exact. PJ holds a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.