Cloud, mobile and automation will be the key trends to look out for in the accounts payable (AP) landscape in 2016, according to business software provider V1. The company has given its top five predictions based on its decades of experience working in the sector.
Although the majority of organisations still process invoices manually, research shows that more and more are recognising the value of automating AP. According to the Aberdeen Group, streamlined ‘best in class’ AP operations process an invoice in 25 per cent of the time and at 20 per cent of the cost of so called ‘laggard’ organisations.
In the coming year, AP technologies will be in demand more than ever as the economic climate forces companies to do even more with less. With such mounting pressures, the following are predictions for 2016:
• More demand for invoice processing technologies – The number of companies utilising this software will increase as more companies continue to recognise its ability to free up time for AP staff to focus on more value-adding, strategic activities. Research has shown that companies utilising Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for automated invoice data capture were processing 25-60% more invoices with the same level of staffing as those who were relying on manual data entry.
• Electronic invoice authorisation – Solutions that digitise the authorisation process will become key for improving productivity, cutting late payment penalties and providing complete visibility of the approval process.
• Mobile – With growing pressure to increase productivity, there will be a greater need for AP solutions that work on mobile devices to allow invoice approvals and purchase order requisitioning whilst ‘on the move’.
• Cloud – Despite on-premise AP systems still proving most popular, there will be a continued rise in the purchase of cloud-based technologies that can offer a cost-effective, flexible and scalable solution.
• Embracing automation – Over the next few years automation will become commonplace and to remain competitive in the job market, staff will need to adapt to this shift, rather than having it inevitably forced on them by mounting internal and external pressures. Staff will need to demonstrate an understanding of AP technologies and will be required to think more strategically to avoid being left behind.
Janette Martin, Managing Director, V1, says, “The trend for increasing productivity with fewer resources is set to continue into 2016, and AP departments that are not already doing so will undoubtedly come under increasing pressure to meet this demand.
“While this can present challenges, it can also be an opportunity for the department to become more strategic by delivering greater visibility and insight. Embracing technology can support this shift away from administrative processing and towards a more streamlined, value-added approach and ensures AP remains an integral part of a company’s competitive advantage.”