Analyst Report Reveals Flat Growth in Automation Adoption Despite Increased Interest
Paystream Advisors’ Annual Invoice Workflow Automation Report revealed some interesting results this year when it came to how companies are processing their invoices. Notable data includes:
- A dramatic increase in plans to implement automation, but flat overall growth amongst companies using it
- Top challenges with invoice management are focused on manual processes
- Paperless workflows remain the top goal when considering automation
I’d like to discuss the first one here a bit further since it sticks out to me the most.
The report reveals that companies want to automate. They see the value and the positive impact it would have on their processes, yet actual usage and implementation year over year is flat. So why are companies not implementing automation solutions?
According to the report “PayStream attributes slow adoption momentum to several factors, including economic pressures and resistance to technology investment.” Also when asked, the largest barrier to adoption was lack of budget and the fact that the current process works. Which leads me to wonder if organizations are truly able to calculate an ROI of automation and fully understand the how it would affect processes in place.
Calculating A Positive ROI
When you dig in, the ROI of automation is typically realized quite rapidly in organizations making 100+ payments per month. The reduced time spent on manual processes provides the payback. Did you know an invoice takes about $10-15 to process? In addition, access to alternative payment methods, such as ACH, commercial cards and virtual cards, provide rebate incentives.
Overcoming the Fear of Change
Considering the common fear to change a process that works as-is, this is simple to overcome. Automating your invoice workflow actually doesn’t change your process at all. Sure you are no longer printing invoices, chasing approvers for signatures and manually inputting coding into your system, so it does change in that sense. But your actual workflow, how you process an invoice, route it through your system, code it, get it approved and sent for payment, remains intact. The difference is your manual work is removed – which I seriously doubt you will miss.
If we overcome budget objectives to provide an ROI and short payback period, ensure the process remains intact but is now automated, what else may be holding these companies back? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Download a full copy of the analyst report here.
If you are interested in exploring your ROI of adopting automation for invoice workflows, you can use this calculator.