Finance leaders are hard at work automating their offices, with accounts payable being named as the top priority for such investments.
This is according to a recent survey from payments company MineralTree. When asked to rate a list of various priorities from 1 to 10, finance leaders listed accounts payable as the highest with an average of 8 (compared with 7.6 in last year’s survey). Following this was accounts payable (7.2), then expense management (6.8), close management (6.5) and forecasting (6.4).
This tracks with the top concerns of suppliers: 84% of these respondents said their biggest priority is getting paid quickly, versus the next highest option, getting paid accurately, at 67%. The report noted that 44.1% of respondents overall have reported invoice-processing challenges or delays due to supply chain disruption; meanwhile, 39.2% said their biggest challenges were delays in getting paid and/or reconciliation issues.
“By selecting AP as their top automation priority, finance leaders recognize the strategic importance of timely payments to keep essential goods and services flowing. They also understand that paper-based, manual methods are no longer feasible in today’s complex and hybrid business environment,” said the report.
The past year has seen these priorities turned into action. The report said that in 2021, 67.7% had not automated their AP processes; in 2022 that proportion has shrunk to 48.1%. The report pointed to certain mindset issues when it came to those who have not upgraded: When asked about the biggest thing in the way of them automating their processes, by far the most common reason cited, at 42.2%, was that their current processes work just fine. The second biggest reason, at 20.2%, was lack of resources.