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New Report on State of ePayables by Ardent Partners

The 2020 version of Ardent Partner's State of ePayables annual report highlights the need for AP departments to rise to the challenge and meet the unexpected and daunting requirements of today's 'new normal.'

Leading forces and laggards in technology became evident during the pandemic, when remote work became the new normal. Companies with account payable automation were able to seamlessly transition into remote working situations as the global conditions worsened. Businesses that failed to invest in technology struggled to remain afloat amidst the pandemic and support the need to work remotely. Accounts payable is playing an increasingly strategic role in the overall financial picture, impacting business operations and the bottom line. With remote opportunities, AP is now in the limelight and prepared to play a greater role in liquidity and cash management. The AP team and C-suite must be ready to rise to the occasion.

The new Ardent Partners/Medius report on the state of ePayables shares knowledge to help propel businesses into the inevitable new normal resulting from remote work conditions. To stay ahead of the curve during this essential global progression, the adoption of technologies such as cloud account payable automation is necessary to keep up with the competition.

Examining the State of Accounts Payable

The need for resilience has become clear after the pandemic and the current state of accounts payable. The days of sitting in an office and manually processing accounts payable are over. Companies that relied on manual processes were left behind and struggling during the pandemic, unable to keep track of outstanding invoices and current cash flow. Today AP plays a significant role in defining and redefining the overall financial picture. 

The AP team and C-suite using account payable automation are clad to leave the paper chase of yesteryear behind. Manual processes do not support remote workers and are sure to leave companies behind during a new normal. Additionally, manual processes are time-consuming, costly, and leave room for human error.  During the pandemic, accuracy is crucial to make realistic financial decisions based on current conditions. AP automation can help companies through the recovery process after the pandemic with financial updates accessible to everyone in real-time.

The State of ePayables in 2020

According to the report, 62 percent of business leaders stated they did not have to invest in AP automation during the pandemic as they already had technologies in-place. However, it was noted account payable automation was adopted in piecemeal rather than as a whole. Less than half the companies had essential technologies such as procure-to-pay automation, eInvoicing, and electronic B2B payments. All of these are missed opportunities to maximize the efficiency and money-saving features of AP automation.

In the face of a worldwide quarantine, AP leaders had new priorities, challenges, and opportunities to them in 2020. Defining these priorities, reviewing core competencies, and harnessing the power of account payable automation supports the progressive accounts payable department of the future. Companies that adopt cloud automation are ready to work remotely, improve efficiency, eliminate costly errors, and have a more accurate idea of cash flow to boost the bottom line. Manual processes are holding companies back from moving into the future by slowing down processes and making it difficult to work remotely during a crisis.

Implementing Best-in-Class Account Payable Automation

AP performance and the importance of operational benchmarks helps companies determine if they have adopted the necessary automation to stay ahead of the curve. Determining how the competition operates and investing in cloud technologies makes it easier to work remotely and remain flexible during world changes, such as a pandemic.

Additionally, automation puts pertinent financial information at the fingertips of the AP department and C-suite. Consider the strategic relevance of B2B payments and the role automation plays in helping companies negotiate early payment discounts and improve vendor relationships. Defining benchmarks and implementing a best-in-class AP automation solution plays a critical role in the overall financial insight that helps management make well-informed decisions, even in the face of a global pandemic. With intelligence playing a growing role in business operations, cloud automation offers businesses an edge and should be adopted now to stay ahead of the technologies of the future.

Smart Strategies for Financial Success

Management and accounts payable can adopt strategies and approaches to improve operations, increase efficiency, reduce errors, increase productivity and profits, and remain resilient during business interruptions. Investing in cloud AP automation and providing ongoing instruction on its use is the first step toward success. Supporting a remote work environment in preparation for the new normal to come is the second step toward staying ahead in a changing world. 

The pandemic also brought to mind other concerns, such as fraud, which became prevalent during these days. AP automation helps prevent fraud and eliminate the costs associated with theft by providing transparency in operations every step of the way. Even when the team works remotely, real-time updates are accessible to everyone.

Investing and developing an agile AP workforce is crucial in the days ahead. The State of ePayables by Ardent Partners revealed companies with robust automation solutions seamlessly handled the pandemic and quarantining. Businesses with half-solutions and manual processes are getting left behind. Adopting technology and learning how to use it are the keys to success in a changing world.

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