The Current State of ePayables Adoption
Ardent Partners, a supply management company, recently conducted a survey about accounts payables (AP). Specifically, they focused on ePayables in their survey, which is titled ePayables 2015: Higher Ground, and analyzed not only how ePayables fit into current AP departments, but the future of AP and ePayables in general. They surveyed firms worldwide to gather this data.
Their findings were illuminating, showing that businesses want to focus on communication as much as they want to focus on technology, and that analysis is as important as ever when it comes to a business’s finances.
Paper Is Clogging the Process
With 72% of respondents reporting that document and image scanning is a key area where they’re adopting ePayables, it’s clear that stacks of paper are still crowding desks and office spaces. In the next two years, 49% of those surveyed reported that they planned to adopt e-invoicing procedures, which not only eliminates paper but also initiates a new means for invoice tracking.
Automation Will Streamline Processes
One way to make AP processing run more smoothly is to automate. The survey revealed that 52% of respondents were using ePayables to automate workflow approval and routing, and that 38% had adopted ePayables partially to automate data capture and extraction. Automating more processes within the next two years is a key goal for 53% of respondents. Successful accounts payable software solutions will have to include many options for customizable automation.
Communication Is a Key Goal
Whether it’s between departments, areas of supply chains, or individuals, communication is essential to analysis and efficiency. Respondents’ 2015 priorities make that clear: 40 % want to improve reporting and analytics, while 31% want to improve collaboration with procurement. Improving supplier connectivity and collaboration increased to 28%, double what it was in last year’s survey.
Communication between AP and other parts of the organization is key. Invoices offer excellent insight into how a company spends and receives its money when analyzed well. The combination of better communication and detailed analytics has the potential to increase the value of data extracted from AP processes.
Processing Costs Aren’t on Everyone’s Mind
In 2014, reducing processing costs was the number one priority for respondents. This year’s survey reveals that 37 % of respondents named that as a main goal for 2015, which is 26% fewer than last year. Cost reduction has also relinquished the top spot to improving reporting and analytics.
The survey illustrated certain important trends for ePayables adoption and AP: that automation and communication are both key to success in the future; that the relationship with suppliers and the entire P2P process will change; and that reporting technology will be a deciding factor for AP process improvement choices.