Leveraging Automated Accounts Payable Solutions for Business Continuity
Businesses across the globe are grappling with business continuity in the face of the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the major challenges for companies is maintaining the continuity of core back-office functions such as accounts payable.
As work from home mandates necessitate remote working, many companies are finding they are unprepared to keep these core functions on track. A recent survey by Gartner found that just 12% of more than 1,500 respondents believe their businesses are highly prepared for the impact of coronavirus.
As this crisis continues to unfold and remote working becomes the new norm, companies are embracing technology solutions as a key part of their business continuity strategies.
Organizations are leveraging technology to adapt operations to a remote working environment, accelerating the adoption accounts payable solutions to realize benefits in five key areas:
Most companies have access to a lot of data they aren’t taking advantage of. Finding ways to leverage this data gives businesses insight into current trends in the marketplace and the ability to identify future trends that can impact business growth.
Accounts payment technology also provides a granular look at payables, payment cycle and the performance of the entire accounts payable team. Access to up-to-the-minute data from any location can help businesses make more informed decisions that support company growth.
Automating accounts payable is no longer a nice to have it is now a need to have capability. AP payment automation is becoming a “need to have” capability. With back-office staff the COVID-19 crisis causing many companies to furlough or let go longtime administrative team members, CFOs are turning to digital, automated solutions that streamline staff-intensive manual AP processes like printing, stuffing, mailing paper checks.
The pandemic is also impacting cash flow for many companies. As businesses grapple with reduced revenues in this environment, ensuring that payments are accurate and maintaining precise control of money going out of the business is critical. Automating AP solutions can control the exact timing of payments and provide an audit trail around when payments are made and delivered to control down to the penny the cash leaving the building each month.
Every penny is critical now to help businesses keep the doors open. Automating AP payment processes leads to lower costs and increased efficiency. One study showed that accounts payable automation can help companies save $16 per invoice or more. Another study revealed that accounts payable professionals who automate the capture of invoices and payments can save an average of one hour per day.
Companies can leverage intelligent payment network technology to use credit cards to pay any supplier regardless of whether the supplier can accept cards. This payment option allows firms to generate new cash flow with 30 days of float. Using this option firms can also take advantage of the benefits of their bank-issued credit cards such as earning cash back and using points rewards to pay suppliers.
Cloud-based accounts payable solutions can help businesses keep the accounts payable solution securely operating from any location – a must for the COVID-19 new reality of widespread remote working.
Even before the pandemic, companies of all sizes were trending toward moving the accounts payable department to cloud technology. Cloud technology is more cost-effective since it reduces overhead and capital needs. A recent study showed that companies switching to cloud-based accounting software saw their revenue grow by 15%.
Another benefit of cloud-based AP payments is that they provide department managers with real-time insights into the company’s finances and operations. Managers can access the software remotely, so payments always get reviewed and paid on time from wherever they are.
Fraud prevention is a top concern for most companies. One report found that 86% of organizations have experienced at least one incidence of fraud in the last two years.
The report also found that more companies are putting systems – including preventative measures and upgraded security policies – in place to prevent fraud as they recognize the importance of prevention.
Companies can reduce fraud by getting rid of paper checks. Research shows that businesses that use wire transfers and ACH in place of paper checks experience ten times less fraud while also reducing the number of duplicate checks being sent.
Companies are turning to accounts payable solutions for business continuity. These solutions can help businesses make more informed decisions with data, become more efficient through automation, reduce costs, gain anytime anywhere access to accounts payable, and prevent fraud now and in the future.