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New Study Shows Accounts Receivable Modernization is More Perception Than Reality

New Study Shows Accounts Receivable Modernization is More Perception Than Reality

Billtrust-Commissioned Research Examines Current State of AR with Integrated B2B Payments, Identifies Gaps Suggesting AR Teams’ Processes are Not as Modernized as They Perceive

Billtrust, a B2B accounts receivable automation and integrated payments leader, released the results of an in-depth qualitative and quantitative research study to better understand the current state of the U.S. accounts receivable (AR) industry. The research covers current AR trends, challenges, priorities, systems, tools and modernization efforts and is summarized in a new white paper, “The State of Accounts Receivable: The Journey to Modernize,” available at Billtrust.com.

“The State of Accounts Receivable: The Journey to Modernize”

Among the many insights, the research showed a significant perception gap among AR practitioners regarding to what extent their processes are modernized. When asked about the tools used to perform their work, most AR teams believe they are up-to-date and efficient, using words such as reliable, innovative and efficient to describe their existing AR systems and processes. Further, 86% rate their department as very or somewhat modernized. There are, however, numerous contrary indicators suggesting AR departments are not as modernized as they perceive:

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  • Over 40% of AR departments do not offer self-service capabilities.
  • Over 50% do not have real-time integrations with their ERP systems, nor do they have automated integration with their customers’ accounts payable (AP) procure-to-pay platforms.
  • Over 60% do not have a majority of their payments or invoices as digital, with nearly 30% of payments still being cash and paper check.
  • Only 25% of executives see their AR departments as a strategic partner in the business, and only 18% see them as an innovative finance function.
  • 60% see their current AR systems and processes as frustrating, driven by lack of integrations between processes, too many manual tasks, insufficient self-service capabilities for customers, inefficient processes/workflows, poor user experiences for AR teams, outdated and slow technology, human error and high operating costs.
  • AR teams report having to interact with an average of 11-20 AP procure-to-pay platforms and be proficient with 11-15 different brands, slowing AR processes.

“Clearly, accounts receivable professionals’ perception of modern processes is not aligned with what is considered state-of-the-art,” said Steve Pinado, Billtrust President. “The study does indicate a small percentage of strategic, innovative and highly modernized AR teams, and our hope is this research draws attention to what can be done to maximize efficiency and leverage the most advanced cash flow acceleration and integrated payments capabilities available. Because benchmarking and self-assessment is so critical to organizational improvement, these findings are important for finance leaders in helping them evaluate their processes and make the connection between strong accounts receivable capabilities, productivity and world-class customer experiences.”

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The study also includes in-depth insights on:

  • How AR teams allocate their time.
  • Most often-used AR systems and tools.
  • AR teams’ biggest pain points and frustrations.
  • How AR teams meet the challenges of increasing AP procure-to-pay platform usage.
  • The pandemic’s impact on AR.
  • The current state of B2B payments.
  • How customers and the C-level perceive AR teams.
  • Technology initiatives AR teams are most likely to investigate or trial in the next 12-36 months.

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