The pandemic caused a significant disruption within the payments industry. It accelerated many businesses’ digital transformation programs and pushed towards the rise of fintech trends such as digital banking, borderless payments, and blockchain technology. With consumers moving to contactless and online shopping, digital payments and automated systems have become increasingly popular. Today once again your company must turn to fintech solutions to continue to expand your business amidst uncertain financial times.
With the economic uncertainty you may be tempted to cut financial technology expenditures. However, this could be a costly mistake. The global fintech market is projected to continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 26.87% up to 2026. As the industry continues to expand fintech automation will keep becoming increasingly more advanced. According to a report conducted by Accenture, technology laggards will leave behind 46% of their potential revenue in 2023. Laggard companies that failed to automate have already bypassed some of their potential profit gains. The gap will only continue to grow as payment automation companies release improved solutions.
Why companies are shifting from manual AP processing to automated options
As the market for financial technology grows, Accounts Payable departments are continually transforming. The time-consuming and expensive nature of AP procedures has led to a shift away from manual processes to automated options. Even when the economy is healthy, your accounting team knows firsthand that managing AP processes by hand is problematic. Below is a breakdown of the typical manual AP invoicing and payment processing procedure:
- Review the received invoice
- Tracking down department heads that can verify and approve the invoice
- Manually entering in AP data into the accounting system
- Match numbers line by line to ensure the Purchase Order matches the invoice and delivery
- Getting final approval from the CFO
- Printing out and assembling paper checks
- Mailing payments
- Organizing and filing receipts for reference
Clearly, this outdated and inefficient process is costly, error-prone, and lacks visibility. If your accounting department is still using a procedure like the one above then the time for a change is overdue.
How AP automation can help your business solve your expansion challenges
As a business owner, one of your key responsibilities is to continually expand and drive profitability for your company. Leveraging robust AP Automation will increase your business’ agility allowing you to better navigate uncertain times. Eliminating redundant manual processes and streamlining your AP procedure will support business growth through tough economic times. According to Forbes, executives should approach the uncertain economic times with the mindset that business and tech are inter-connected. With an economic downturn on the horizon, you should consider investing in AP technology to create a stronger competitive position and drive expansion. Focusing on AP technology expenditures specifically will produce the following benefits:
Freeing your AP employees up from unnecessary manual tasks will give them more freedom with their time allowing them to focus on value-added tasks. Using a manual invoice processing procedure, on average takes over 11 days to process a single invoice. Implementing an efficient AP Automation solution like ExFlow cuts the invoice processing time down to just under four days. Reducing the amount of time required to process your AP Invoices gives your employees more time to work on important tasks ultimately supporting business growth.
Gives your company the capability to handle a larger number of invoices
As your business grows it is natural for the number of AP invoices you handle to increase. High volumes of invoices can be very difficult to manage. Traditionally, this would require hiring additional employees. However, through implementing advanced AP Automation software such as SK Global’s Banking and Treasury Suite paired with ExFlow (powered by SignUp Software), you can fully automate the entire AP process. Additionally, both solutions are designed to scale with your business and have the capabilities to handle an unlimited number of invoices supporting potential expansion.
In a report conducted on 1,485 organizations, the American Productivity and Quality Center, found that top performing organizations spent an average of $2.07 per invoice. The lowest 25% spent almost 5 times as much per invoice. The main variance between the two groups was automation. The more efficient companies generally used AP Automation while the less productive companies were using manual AP processes. Another area where your organization will save money is with labor costs. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for just one AP clerk is about $74,000 a year. As you grow you will either need to automate or hire additional employees. Implementing AP Automation software is typically the cheaper option. Lowering your overall expenses will free up funds for your business allowing you to re-invest it into expenditures that will grow your company.
Improve data visibility
Automation enables real-time tracking of your AP payments, giving you greater insights into your critical account payable process flows. Through robust software like SK Global’s, you can access approval history data, invoice codes and documents without having to contact your accounting department. Having greater visibility of data will not only improve your forecasting capabilities, but also allow you to use the information to make better informed decisions that grow your business.
True End-to-End AP Automation Built-Into Microsoft Dynamics 365 F&SC
Through advanced technology embedded into your Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain ERP, SK Global’s Banking and Treasury Suite paired with SignUp Software’s ExFlow unifies and automates the entire AP Automation procedure. SignUp Software’s AP Invoicing solution streamlines the process before the payment takes place, while our Banking and Treasury Suite automates the payment processing procedure. To learn more about our solution join us for our weekly public AP Automation demos.