Article

Why AP automation is a top trend in B2B payments

Wednesday, July 19, 2023 4 minute read

4 minute read

Amid staffing shortages, supply chain disruptions and hybrid work environments, businesses face operational challenges that impact cash flow—and timely vendor payments. This, in turn, affects the flow of goods and services, critical to running a successful business. With these challenges, it's no wonder that automating accounts payable (AP) processes is the top back-office digitization priority for businesses.

The benefits of automating accounts payable

Accounts payable (AP) automation benefits businesses in many ways: greater visibility and control, improved efficiency, and cost savings, to name a few. And businesses are taking note. In fact, 52% of businesses surveyed in MineralTree's 2022 State of AP Report automated some or all of their accounts payable processes in 2022—a 20% increase over 2021.

Greater visibility and control

A recent global survey of CFOs found that improving cash flow remains a top priority. Automating AP processes puts you in control. With visibility into the entire invoice-to-pay process, you decide who gets paid, when and how. And you can better track late payments and identify bottlenecks in payment processes. The result: greater predictability and stability of your cash outflows.

Automating AP processes also gives you visibility across user roles, business units, locations and vendors. You get a much clearer picture of cash flow for your entire business. And you can immediately troubleshoot any cash flow problems as they arise.

Improved efficiency

As suppliers and buyers become more accustomed to doing business digitally, payment turnaround times must keep pace. This can be difficult in the face of staffing shortages and hybrid work environments.

91% of CFOs reported that payment digitization has improved their business efficiency

Automating the invoice-to-pay process delivers immediate efficiency gains. By eliminating manual errors and accelerating workflows, you can process and approve invoices and payments more quickly and accurately. This leads to improved vendor relationships and could result in early payment discounts or negotiated terms.

Cost reduction

One-third of respondents to MineralTree's report indicated that more than 50% of their B2B payments are made via paper checks. Check payments drag down your AP operations with higher costs, more resources and more time spent printing, mailing and processing payments. This slows the pace of your business.

Automating the invoice-to-pay process delivers immediate cost savings, replacing paper and reducing manual processes. In fact, 61% of businesses that implemented AP automation can process more invoices without adding headcount. You can also redeploy employees to focus on other, more strategic projects. And, if needed, you can do more with less in the face of continued staffing shortages.

Sixty-one percent of businesses that implemented accounts payable automation can process more invoices with the same size team.

Keep business moving with AP automation

As staffing shortages, supply chain disruptions and hybrid work environments continue to impact businesses, automating AP processes will help you better manage cash flow—and get your vendors paid on time. And it delivers the visibility, efficiency and cost savings you need to keep your businesses moving forward.

Have more questions about automating accounts payable? Contact us today to learn how accounts payable automation can help you better manage your cash flow, improve process efficiencies and reduce costs. If you're an issuer, see how our TSYS commercial solutions can help you automate and digitize your accounts payable processes.

And be sure to subscribe to our Payments in Focus newsletter to stay ahead of the latest trends in commerce and payments.

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