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Why Automating Accounts Payable is a Priority in 2019

According to our 2019 State of Accounts Payable report, which surveyed over 1,500 finance professionals in the middle-market, results showed nearly 20% of the businesses plan to automate accounts payable within one year. This represents the priority placed on automating processes in accounts payable, and it is being spurred by a variety of factors that are pushing finance teams to take a more forward-thinking approach to paying vendors.

Vendors, CFOs, and finance professionals are all seeing the value, ease, and efficiency of automating accounts payable.

Vendors Are Realizing the Efficiency in Electronic Payments

Today, vendors, particularly larger businesses, are looking to simplify operations by going paperless. Going paperless allows vendors to get paid faster rather than waiting for paper checks to process. This is then putting the onus on their customers to follow suit in making their payments electronically.

Based on results in the 2019 State of Accounts Payable, automation is positioned as a key enabler for electronic payments. The findings showed that almost 50% of respondents that automate are originating more than a quarter of payments as ACH transfers. Meanwhile, only 30% of respondents that do not automate are leveraging ACH transfers as often.

ACH transfers offer cost savings and simplicity in ways that check payments cannot offer by their nature.

CFOs Are Recognizing AP as a Key Method to Manage Cash Flow Strategically

Forward thinking CFOs with a strategic eye on operations are realizing manual processes are a source of inefficiency within their organization, wasting valuable resources across the entire organization.

AP Automation presents an opportunity to streamline the myriad manual tasks, such as invoice coding and data entry, collecting invoice approvals, and matching invoices to purchase orders, to establish a more proactive approach to managing cash flow and vendor relationships.

With AP Automation, businesses can reduce the time it takes to move an invoice and take advantage of early pay discounts while maintaining healthy relationships with vendors.

Automation is Making Life Better for Finance Professionals

Businesses automating AP are liberating their employees, allowing staff to focus on more strategic and rewarding initiatives. As a result, companies in the middle-market are improving retention rates in the accounts payable department, which helps drive down costs without hampering productivity.

Employees that used to be stuck managing the invoice approval and payment process around the clock are seeing the time requirement is reduced to no more than a few hours a day. As a result, they can focus on other tasks that move their companies and their careers forward.

While other solutions exist to help solve one task or function of the accounts payable process, it is only through full, end-to-end automation that businesses can see the best ROI on an automation platform.

Businesses working with MineralTree experience up to 80% efficiency and see full return on their investment within 60 days of implementation, and an overall ROI of 366%.

Curious to learn more about how accounts payable automation can help your team leverage electronic payments? Contact MineralTree for a personalized demo.


Meghan Makiver
Meghan is a contributor to P3, and also a co-curator of The P3 Newsletter, a weekly email newsletter covering the best (and worst) in financial strategy.


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