Digitization of accounts payable tops finance leaders’ priorities for third consecutive year in MineralTree’s annual AP report
Boston – October 11, 2023 – MineralTree, a Global Payments (NYSE: GPN) company and accounts payable (AP) and payment automation solution provider, today released its eighth annual State of AP Report. This year’s survey looks at progress in modernizing back-office finance processes for businesses amid the impact of multiple macroeconomic factors. The 2023 report includes responses from buyers and their vendors, presenting a complete view of the AP and payment automation landscape.
“As businesses continue to face a number of challenges and pressures, finance teams are being tasked with finding new ways to drive operating efficiencies and get more control over cash flow,” said Brian Greehan, head of B2B Solutions for Global Payments. “In response, they are prioritizing investments in back-office automation and working with vendors to increase the adoption of digital payments.”
MineralTree’s 2023 State of AP Report explores these trends and their significant impact on finance teams. It also offers practical guidance to help businesses continue to optimize their AP and payment operations.
Some key themes highlighted in the report, include:
Recessionary headwinds, rising costs and hybrid workplaces are pressuring AP teams to do more with less
With increasing corporate belt-tightening, finance leaders are focused on boosting the productivity of lean AP teams and taking measures to cut costs.
- 59% of finance leaders cite doing more with less, followed by reducing AP processing costs (49%); improving the ability to manage cash flow (43%); and gaining better visibility into their current cash position (42%).
- Almost half (45%) of firms looking to hire anticipate hiring challenges and delays.
- AP teams are also more likely to work remote, as 68% of AP work environments are now hybrid or fully remote–which is expected to increase over the next year.
AP automation is providing critical value and remains a top digitization priority
AP automation is allowing finance teams to do more with less.
- An overwhelming majority of teams surveyed using AP automation realized efficiency gains (85%) and faster, more timely payments (63%).
- 58% are able to absorb a growing volume of invoices and payments with the same-sized team. Almost a quarter (24%) have reallocated freed-up staff time to other projects. In addition, they are gaining much-needed visibility into cash flow and working capital.
- For those who have begun the automation journey, the most digitized AP task is invoice approval/workflows (71%), followed by invoice data capture and coding (66%), payment execution (58%) and payment authorization (58%).
Vendor relationships play a growing role in the adoption of AP automation
The pandemic put a lot of focus on the importance of strategic vendor relationships and that sentiment continues to grow.
- Two-thirds (66%) of finance leaders agree or strongly agree that their vendor relationships have grown in importance.
- Vendors continue to rank speed of payment as the top priority in the payment experience, but are unhappy with the time it takes to respond to payment inquiries. This remains their top pain point in the customer payment process.
- Vendor dissatisfaction may be growing. Just over half (52%) feel that AP follows up on payment inquiries in a timely manner, compared to 56% last year.
Currently, only 20% of businesses have fully automated their AP processes, creating ample opportunity for businesses to evolve their processes in order to remain competitive. In addition to these key themes, the report offers guidance every business can take to optimize their payment operations, including:
- Businesses that begin to automate can focus on immediate wins that deliver ROI, such as digitizing paper invoices and automating approval routing. Businesses that have automated some aspects of their AP workflow can realize even better results by automating additional elements, such as vendor payments. End-to-end automation increases operational efficiencies, enables more timely payments and improves cash flow management.
- By using managed payment services to remove some of the upfront administrative requirements, companies can more quickly enroll vendors for virtual card payments and accelerate ROI from automation.
- Analyzing invoice and payment data can help businesses identify opportunities to reduce spend and maximize cash flow by consolidating vendors, timing payments and taking better advantage of early payment discounts.
The full report delves into all of these topics and more in greater detail and is available for download here.
About the MineralTree State of Accounts Payable (AP) Report 2023
For the eighth consecutive year, MineralTree surveyed a wide range of finance professionals to analyze their current state of finance operations, challenges, and outlook for the year ahead. For the second year running, the report includes the perspective of buyers and their vendors. We surveyed 821 finance professionals involved in the AP function (MineralTree customers and non-customers) along with 246 employees at vendor organizations. Respondents represented a mix of industries, company sizes, and job levels with annual revenues ranging from under $1 million to more than $1 billion with the majority at the mid-market $10-$100 million mark.
MineralTree, a Global Payments (NYSE: GPN) company, provides modern, secure, easy-to-use accounts payable (AP) and payment automation solutions. By uniting technology and passionate people, we make the process of business payments easy, impactful, and profitable. Our solutions combine ease of use with robust capabilities that drive meaningful insights, transforming the back office into a strategic partner of the corner office. For more information, visit mineraltree.com and follow MineralTree on LinkedIn.
About Global Payments
Global Payments Inc. (NYSE: GPN) is a leading payments technology company delivering innovative software and services to customers globally. Our technologies, services and team member expertise allow us to provide a broad range of solutions that enable our customers to operate their businesses more efficiently across a variety of channels around the world.
Headquartered in Georgia with approximately 27,000 team members worldwide, Global Payments is a Fortune 500® company and a member of the S&P 500 with worldwide reach spanning over 170 countries throughout North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. For more information, visit company.globalpayments.com and follow Global Payments on Twitter (@globalpayinc), LinkedIn and Facebook.