7 Promising Accounts Payable Automation Trends You Should Keep an Eye On
The digital age is driving more businesses to adopt accounts payable automation into their operations. Nowadays, such a tool is no longer a luxury but a need, especially to remain relevant and competitive in the market. With the right tools, you can overcome the challenges you are currently facing with your AP process and make it more efficient than ever.
There is a wide array of options available for AP automation tools. All of which offer unique sets of functions and features. You might feel overwhelmed when searching for one that will suit your business. Knowing the latest trends in accounts payable automation can help you efficiently choose the right solution for your business.
With that, here are some of the technology trends in AP automation to watch out for in the coming years.
1. Remote work will boost demand for AP automation
There has been a surge in the number of remote works since last year. Many experts believe that this trend will continue even after the COVID-19 pandemic. However, accounting teams are one of the few departments that continue to make regular trips to the office to process invoices and payments. As a result, businesses are starting to see the importance and impact of automated accounts payable processes.
According to Adroit Market Research, the demands for accounts payable automation tools will reach 4 billion by 2025. As more organizations implement remote work setup, accounting teams will need tools that can allow them to work flexibly. With the right software, your accountants no longer have to go into the office to pick up check stock and print checks or drive over to the CFO’s house for their signature. Your staff can do all these tasks from the comforts and safety of their homes using software.
2. AP processes will become fully digital
Businesses are striving towards digital transformation. They are migrating their workflows and operations into the virtual realm in the hopes of reducing cost and boosting productivity. And one of the major processes that many businesses hope to fully digitize is their accounts payable process.
In this case, they aren’t just automating certain tasks such invoicing and billing. They are also digitizing communication and collaboration between accounting teams, CFOs, vendors, clients, and other departments within the organization. Moreover, digitizing the AP process also means going paperless. Meaning, there will be no more printed invoices, receipts, and bills. Every important record will be in a virtual database, making it more secure and easier to organize. You can check out this article comparing different types of accounts payable software tools.
3. Automates are becoming smarter
Software solutions are getting smarter through artificial intelligence. In fact, over 50% of global businesses have adopted AI-led solutions into their operations. This shows just how common and accessible this type of technology is nowadays. As a result, more and more AP solutions are incorporating AI and machine learning into their system.
Without AI, automation can only do limited tasks due to its lack of intelligence. But with the increased use of AI technology, automation can now handle more complex responsibilities. And with their ability to learn, they can deliver more accurate and high-quality output compared to basic automation. For example, you can use AP solutions to not only gather data and analyze it as well. You can even program it to summarize insights from such data and have it presented into graphs, charts, or any digestible format.
4. Cloud-based AP solutions will gain momentum
The days of buying CDs just to install a certain program into your hardware are slowly fading away. More organizations are now turning to cloud-based accounts payable solutions for more flexibility and affordability.
Through cloud technology, accountants can now access data and records over the internet. This gives them the freedom to work outside the office and through any devices they wish to use without the hassle of rigorous installation and maintenance. Likewise, it eases collaboration and makes it easier to send invoices and billings to vendors and clients.
Another benefit to cloud-technology is its affordability. Compared to on-premise software, cloud-based systems are offered in subscriptions. This lets you choose the subscription plan you want, and have it canceled anytime in case you find a better alternative. Moreover, the cost of maintaining the system itself no longer falls on your shoulders since your service provider will be the one handling it.
5. AP solutions will integrate with ERP systems
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems tie closely with AP processes. This type of system manages day-to-day business activities such as accounting, procurement, project management, risk management, and compliance, and supply chain operations. It is no wonder that one of the accounts payable trends is the tighter integration between AP automation and ERP systems.
Many organizations have begun integrating their AP technology with their ERP systems. By doing so, the process of capturing and managing invoice data can be fully automated and accelerated. This allows organizations to streamline and automate procure-to-pay processes as well. Moreover, integrating AP with ERP provides more visibility into your organization’s financial operations, making it easier to validate invoice data and general ledgers.
6. Data security and fraud protection will be prioritized
Cybersecurity has always been at the forefront of any business operations. Due to the increasing digital nature of workflows and operations, businesses are investing in software that can ensure data security and fraud protection. This is especially true with automated AP processes where your systems contain sensitive data such as invoices, billings, and payment details.
As a result, many AP automation tools have built-in data security and fraud protection features within their system. For example, you can use automation to restrict certain access and actions within the system. You can then bar unauthorized persons from downloading, sending, or opening a certain record within your database. And with machine learning, you can have greater control over your financial operations, making it easier to detect and prevent fraud.
7. AP becomes critical for data and analytics
Your AP process contains critical information regarding cash flow, spendings, liabilities, and more. Such data can be valuable to your strategies especially within the Finance, Treasury, Procurement, and Accounting departments. More businesses are starting to see this. However, having a manual AP process can make it tougher to mine such data and use it to gain further insights.
So make the most out of such data, using AP automation. It can extract valuable information from the various processes of accounts payable and transform them into digestible reports. Moreover, this can all be done without additional workload on your staff. By leveraging AP data and analytics, you can improve your financial operations and make smarter decisions for the future.
8. Welcome to the future of AP
More organizations are beginning to see the importance and impact of automated AP processes. With the right tools, they can boost their staff’s efficiency and productivity. Moreover, it can streamline their operations and provide flexibility in their workflows.
So get on with the times and explore what AP automation have to offer. With so many technological innovations around the corner, the future of AP seems bright and exciting. From AI technology to cloud-based systems, AP solutions have a lot more to offer to your business now than ever.
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