Though many enterprise departments have seen increasing levels of automation in recent years (including human resources, procurement and others), in many organizations accounts payable (AP) “remains a stubbornly manual process,” according to an article by Matthew Delman on CPO Rising, a media site aimed at chief procurement officers.
Delman adds, however, that as companies consider the advantages of such an approach, technology will become a more important favor in accounts payable. He cites a 2014 survey which has 83 percent of respondents saying the AP process will be largely automated in the next two years.
The main reason for that change is a new recognition that AP isn’t just where invoices are sent for approval. It’s now seen as a center for efficiency, visibility and intelligence. Because all invoices go through the AP function, making that process automatic can add visibility to a company’s operation. Businesses that rely on manual or disconnected workflows can’t hope to achieve the same level of efficiency, transparency or compliance of those with an automated AP function.
Technology, Delman says, can change AP from a back-office function in a “strategic, well-valued partner of procurement and other stakeholders.” The transformative powers of an automated AP system can have significant impact on a company’s success thanks to access to financial information and intelligence can be used for decision making.