MineralTree, an accounts payable (AP) and cost automation resolution supplier, has launched its seventh annual State of AP report. For the primary time, MineralTree expanded its analysis to incorporate suppliers, reflecting the rising significance of vendor relationships to companies within the present surroundings.
With this extra perspective, the 2022 report supplies a 360-degree view of the AP and B2B funds panorama, figuring out essentially the most urgent points for each patrons and suppliers, and their influence throughout a spread of industries.
In 2022, corporations accelerated their digitisation efforts in an try to beat persistent, pandemic-related operational challenges together with disrupted provide chains, hybrid work, and a difficult worker hiring and retention surroundings. On the identical time, enterprise executives proceed to place strain on monetary leaders to pay distributors on time to maintain items and companies flowing.
Because of this, many finance groups are embracing digital instruments to optimise their AP operations, streamline funds, and solidify vendor relationships.
Along with AP’s rising deal with automation and its influence on B2B relationships, this 12 months’s State of AP Report additionally seems to be on the progress of e-payments, and the disconnect between patrons and suppliers concerning adoption. Among the particular themes embody:
Macro tendencies put mounting strain on AP
Whereas the pandemic precipitated important challenges throughout all enterprise operations, its influence was particularly acute in AP due to its strategic function in paying distributors on time and guaranteeing entry to business-critical provides and assets.
- Almost 71 per cent of finance leaders acknowledged that their relationships with distributors grew in significance over the previous 12 months, in comparison with 59 per cent in 2021.
- Bill processing points and delays (44 per cent), adopted by cost delays and/or reconciliation points (39 per cent), have been cited as prime challenges stemming from provide chain disruptions.
- A scarcity of certified candidates because of the Nice Resignation has elevated the strain on AP groups. Greater than half (54 per cent) of the finance leaders surveyed count on challenges or delays in hiring high quality AP workers this 12 months.
Corporations are digitising AP to extend effectivity, however there’s room for far more
Companies are accelerating their AP automation efforts to shorten the invoice-to-payment cycle and deal with distributors’ need to receives a commission shortly. On the identical time, they’re additionally benefiting from elevated workers productiveness, decreased processing prices, stronger safety, and improved money movement.
- For the second straight 12 months, AP stays the highest digitisation precedence within the again workplace forward of AR, expense administration, shut administration, and forecasting.
- 52 per cent of respondents have automated their AP course of, up from 32 per cent final 12 months. Nonetheless, solely 16 per cent say they’re totally automated, lacking out on essential worth within the type of end-to-end effectivity, visibility, and insights.
- Automation is enabling AP groups to do extra with much less. Of those that have automated AP, practically two-thirds are processing extra invoices and funds with the identical sized group (61 per cent), assuaging among the hiring challenges beforehand mentioned.
E-payment adoption continues to develop as extra finance leaders realise its worth
Each type of e-payment noticed elevated utilization in 2022 whereas checks decreased 10 per cent from the earlier 12 months.
- The variety of AP groups that plan to shift extra of their spend to e-payments elevated from 65 per cent in 2021 to 71 per cent in 2022.
- Digital playing cards confirmed essentially the most important positive factors over the previous 12 months, from 9 per cent of corporations rising utilization in 2021, to 38 per cent this 12 months. ACH noticed the following largest positive factors – from 50 per cent in 2021 to 67 per cent in 2022. Worldwide/FX was third (19 per cent), doubtless because of the have to supply new abroad distributors to compensate for provide chain disruptions.
- Distributors are wholeheartedly on board with digital funds – 82 per cent wish to obtain extra digital funds from their prospects
The ‘blame recreation’ is impeding even broader e-payment adoption
Whereas each patrons and distributors favour e-payments, they proceed to call one another as the largest impediment to furthering adoption.
- 57 per cent of finance leaders cited vendor unwillingness to simply accept e-payments sorts as the highest purpose impeding its progress.
- Conversely, 63 per cent of distributors recognized the first impediment to e-payment as being prospects not prepared to maneuver away from checks.
- Different purchaser issues focus on their notion of the effort and time it takes to arrange e-payments, together with group capability to contact/enroll distributors (40.4 per cent). The irony is that finance leaders can simply get rid of this anticipated work by partnering with an AP automation supplier that provides managed companies, resembling vendor enrollment.
“In 2022, AP groups face numerous important challenges – provide chain disruptions, work-from-home and hiring challenges, and an rising quantity of invoices and vendor inquiries,” stated Elizabeth (Elle) Kowal, chief working officer at MineralTree.
“AP automation, mixed with managed companies, is a no brainer for AP groups attempting to do extra with much less, and keep afloat amid provide chain volatility.” She continued: “Automation handles frequent AP complications for understaffed AP groups whereas elevating productiveness, visibility, management, financial savings – and even earnings. The 2022 State of AP Report uncovers a number of methods AP groups can deal with these challenges and shortly enhance operational effectivity of their AP operations.”