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Failure to Eliminate Paper is Stopping Businesses Achieving Their goals, Survey Finds

Monday 28th May, 2012

Almost half of companies can’t detect duplicate invoices, more than one third can’t track cost per invoice

An in-depth survey into current trends and predictions in accounts payable, conducted by Accounts Payable News®, and sponsored by Basware, has found that a significant portion of UK companies are being held back by a reliance on paper-based financial processes. A failure to realise the benefits of automating invoicing and payment processes causes unnecessary cost and allows inefficiencies to go unnoticed.

At a time when businesses are striving for increased efficiency, and while many are streamlining financial processes, the survey found that 45% of companies cannot detect duplicate invoice payment and 37% admitted they couldn't calculate their total cost per invoice in order to identify potential improvements. There is an overall trend for companies wanting to do more with less, but the inability to get full insight into Accounts Payable (AP) team processes means directors cannot manage improvements.

“The ability to capture process inefficiencies is the first and most obvious step to making improvements,” commented Basware VP, Andrew Jesse. “This new research shows that many companies are struggling to see where the problems in their AP process originate, which causes them great difficulty. In the current financial climate a lack of budget for investing in process improvement means finance teams are struggling to implement change.”

The greatest challenges faced by surveyed AP departments are: keeping track of invoices (42%) and making payments on time (34%) – both of which can have a direct impact on the bottom line. At the same time, less than one in 20 invoices provides an early payment discount.

Ellen Leith, Managing Editor at Accounts Payable News® said: “It’s clear that for many, AP operations remain opaque and that despite some improvements (particularly in terms of centralising functions), this lack of clarity equates to missed opportunities. The key challenge to solution providers targeting this problem will be to demonstrate clear and tangible ROI.”

Andrew Jesse commented: “Implementing basic e-invoicing is the first step towards greater visibility and control for accounts payable. The visibility that even this small step brings with it can start to bring benefits almost immediately.

To access the survey visit - http://www.accountspayablenews.org/white-papers/452-apn-annual-ap-survey-2012.html