The Future of AP: Holistic Processes Create Value

Vice President, Marketing, Basware, Inc.

Following is the sixth blog in a series based on a discussion between Bob Cohen, Basware VP North America, and Andrew Bartolini, Chief Research Officer, Ardent Partners and author of the recently published study e-Payables 2014: The Quest.  During their conversation, a range of purchase-to-pay trends were discussed, including e-payments, business networks and social, mobile and cloud enablement. This blog focuses on the future of AP. 

Bob Cohen:  How committed are companies to an end-to-end AP process?

Andrew Bartolini:  Organizations are looking at the AP process more holistically.  We’re starting to see more automation in the early parts of the AP process.  As a result, organizations are able to process their invoices in a more rapid fashion so that they can take advantage of early payment discounts, should the opportunities exist.  Unfortunately, many organizations are still unable to process their invoices within the discount window. But, those that are able to process their invoices quickly can start to make better-informed decisions in how they use their cash and optimize it.  

Bob Cohen: What can we expect next in AP Automation?

Andrew Bartolini: The next big thing for AP automation is for organizations to be thinking holistically about the entirety of the process – not just worrying about how much paper is coming in on the front end, but what you need to do with it – how to digitize it and how to manage settlement.  Companies are starting to think about purchasing and payment as a single transaction that requires collaboration and visibility between Procurement and Accounts Payable departments as well as synergies between systems to manage a single supplier relationship.  Some organizations are already at that point, but most of them, as our research shows, are not.  The next major step for the industry will occur when more organizations view procurement and payment holistically and put processes in place to accomplish that.

To download the complete Ardent Partners’ report, e-Payables 2014: The Quest, click here »