UK Finance Workers Spend 8 Hours a Month Tied Up in Unnecessary Admin

3 March 2015

Invu releases sneak peek into industry research report focusing on Purchase Ordering Processing trends and challenges 

Invu, the document management solutions provider, today releases a revealing snapshot of its research findings into Purchase Order Processing (POP) among UK small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The research, carried out by independent research house Redshift Research, reveals that 50% of finance professionals are unhappy with their current Purchase Ordering process and that 47% of these believed that corrective action was a priority.

The study identified a lack of visibility in the purchase requisitioning process that resulted in finance workers spending on average 8 hours per month dealing with employees contacting them to ask whether or not a purchase requestion had been approved.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • 64% of UK Finance Workers in SMEs are not using dedicated software as part of a Purchase Order process. Instead opting for a manual process (16%); using Microsoft Office Excel or similar (26%); or a hybrid approach (22%). The statistics suggest that participants using a blend of purchase requisition to order systems – such as paper based/ Microsoft Office or a hybrid of the two - have limited visibility of the purchase process.
  • 35% of UK Finance Workers in SMEs said they had multiple methods for delivering purchase orders to suppliers. Email was the clear winner, with one third (33%) preferring email as the sole method for delivering purchase orders.
  • 35% of UK Finance Workers in SMEs said that the current POP makes it difficult to make a purchase on behalf of the company or that they have to work around the Purchase Order process in order to get things done.

Ian Smith, General Manager at Invu comments, “What is clear from the research is that financial personnel can accomplish a significant increase in efficiencies by automating their Purchase Order Processing systems. Time pressure is a massive concern for SMEs who are primarily focused on business growth. Streamlining the Purchase Order process is one step SMEs can take to help alleviate pressures on finance workers and ensure their time is spent more effectively.”  

Respondents that reported no fixed requirement to produce purchase orders when purchasing goods or services for the organisation had a 33% time saving compared to those organisations that had a rigid mandatory requirement for following a Purchase Order process.

Furthermore, organisations that offered a flexible approach to POP using a combination of email, paper and a Microsoft Office applications, spent 20% less time dealing with Purchase Orders than those organisations that solely used a paper based request.

Smith added, “Whilst it is interesting to see variable time savings between segmented groups of respondents in relation to organisational procedures, the overriding conclusion is that time could be saved if employees of SME organisations were engaged with a system and the Purchase Order process was visible end to end.”

A full research report that includes detailed analysis into Purchase Order Processing of UK SMEs is due to be published by Invu in March 2015. 

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