OB10 survey shows that exceptions cause late payments, unnecessary cost and prevent global companies from realising the financial benefits of straight-through invoice processing
OB10, the e-Invoicing network, and sharedserviceslink.com, the community for leaders in finance shared services and outsourcing, have uncovered the full impact of invoice exceptions on global businesses. From an international survey of 200 professionals, 85% agree that eliminating exceptions would be one of the most effective ways to cut costs for Accounts Payable.
The survey finds that invoices which cannot be matched to a purchase order and require manual resolution before they can be approved for payment are the root cause of many inefficiencies and payment delays in the procure-to-pay process. According to the survey, 31% - or nearly one third - of PO-backed invoices require expensive manual rework before payment can be approved.
The top-three repercussions are late payments, increased operating costs and unhappy suppliers. For companies processing around 350,000 invoices annually (the average volume across survey respondents), exceptions cause 32% of late payments, 36% of supplier phone calls, and require 160,000 man hours a year across the enterprise to resolve them - equivalent to 79 full-time employees.
The key sources of exceptions include price or quantity discrepancies, no valid purchase order, or goods not received. And despite these problems, only 43% of participants have formal tracking methods.
"Companies have struggled with this for years," said Susie West, CEO of sharedserviceslink.com. "Accounts Payable sits at the tail end of a process where they don't have control over the inputs. The good news is that there are tools available to help companies eliminate waste and achieve greater visibility and control in the procure-to-pay process."
Based on the survey's findings, OB10 has published Rooting out Invoice Exceptions: The Path to Straight-Through Processing, a practical guide for AP professionals. "Companies that leverage technology to enforce tighter up-front control can optimize their cash-flow management and internal compliance," said Danny Thompson, VP Strategic Account Relations at OB10 and author of the e-book.