AP Trends We Haven’t Seen the Last of – Looking to 2023

Friday, December 16, 2022

6 minute read

AP Trends We Haven’t Seen the Last of – Looking to 2023

With 2022 in the dust and our eyes on the 2023 horizon, it’s always good to reflect on the past year as we in the world of finance consider past trends and their relevance in the upcoming year. In this blog, we’ll take a look at 4 trends that stood tall in 2022, and foreseeably will still be around in 2023 (and beyond).

Data is King 

The crown atop the head of Data has not slipped. As more businesses are getting the memo to automate their payments processes, the more their realizing the glory of data. (Or perhaps the initial headache of “What do I do with all this?”)

Fortunately, with a central source of data collaboration, there’s quite a lot that you can do with your payment data. With a solution capable of capturing all your financial data across the purchase-to-pay (P2P) process and import spend data from external sources like ERPs, you get to see the full picture.

Data improves process efficiency and visibility, resulting in cost savings. After all, when you’re able to see performance measurements in a single analytics dashboard, you can effortlessly answer questions such as:

  • What is our e-invoice rate?

  • How many invoices were automatically matched?

  • How many exceptions are we handling?

  • How much spend is committed via payment plans by organization, supplier, and category?

  • How many invoices were paid on time?

With data, you’ll know the root cause for failing invoices, optimize invoice timing, and prevent overpayments. And as time goes on, you’ll see automated suggestions based on historical data and predictive analytics to see how likely it is that an invoice will be paid late. With this foresight, accounts payable teams can dig into the details and see what they can do today to prevent a late payment from ruining the process. For example, with access to the right data, you’ll have dynamic insights into the number of invoices, company currency, and maximum available discount for a spectrum of late payments

Remote capabilities

“1 in 5 employees are likely to switch to a new employer in the next 12 months.” (PwC) You read that right. And if that doesn’t make you a little weary, it should. Especially if you’re someone in an AP manager or CFO role. Traditionally, AP is about paper pushing, crunching numbers, and manually inputting invoice information. And for newer generations coming into the job market (and even those that have been in it for a while) this isn’t exactly the most appealing of job descriptions.

Face it. The workforce has changed permanently. Not only in terms of how people work, but how the general business environment looks compared to 2019. Remote capabilities allow businesses to capitalize on new opportunities that not only allow operations to continue moving regardless of where teams are located, but also expand and scale their business in new directions and greater breadth.

Finance automation solutions such as accounts payable (AP) automation provide a remote-capable way of working. Getting suppliers paid on time, cash flowing, and the supply chain stable. If you haven’t already implemented AP Automation in your organization, here are just a few reasons why you should:

  • TIME SAVINGS: Automation makes processing and approving invoices quicker and more efficient, eliminating most of the manual stages involved. As a result, the number of human touches required per invoice is significantly reduced, meaning staff spends less time on tedious tasks and more time on strategic ones.

  • REDUCED COSTS: Reducing manual effort and exceptions involved in invoice processing, AP automation can help significantly reduce invoice processing costs as well as the costs involved with resolving exceptions.

  • INCREASED ACCURACY: By eliminating the risk of human error, automation increases accuracy and reduces errors and exceptions across the entire invoice and payment processing cycle.

  • BUILT-IN COMPLIANCE: Compliance is built into the system, making the process fully transparent. This allows common risks and instances of fraud to be tracked and prevented. Some automation systems can also be connected to major government hubs and deliver tax compliance in multiple countries around the world.

  • ACCESSIBLE FROM ANYWHERE: Paper-based manual processes can usually only be carried out in a dedicated space, such as an office. Documents will need to be stored and filed in the right place. When the process is automated and cloud-based, however, it can be done from anywhere with an internet connection, meaning remote work is supported that much easier.

Great Resignation

“1 in 5 employees are likely to switch to a new employer in the next 12 months.” (PwC) You read that right. And if that doesn’t make you a little weary, it should. Especially if you’re someone in an AP manager or CFO role. Traditionally, AP is about paper pushing, crunching numbers, and manually inputting invoice information. And for newer generations coming into the job market (and even those that have been in it for a while) this isn’t exactly the most appealing of job descriptions.

But fortunately, there are ways to combat the effects of the Great Resignation.

Your organization must be prepared to deal with the new way of working and can provide technology that offers remote access from anywhere and can switch previously manual processes to online. If your workforce is not physically in the office, you need a plan to address the people, processes, and technology needed to enable business as usual. Regardless of your role, digital transformation enables procurement and accounts payable teams to seamlessly transition to remote working. With easy access to relevant platforms, they can continue with business as usual from wherever they’re located (globally).

And with more automation across your processes and less manual work, employees in traditionally manual roles such as AP can focus on more creative and strategic initiatives – giving more value to the company overall.

Compliance

E-invoicing is here to stay. And while the benefits are clear in the private sector, there’s been a notable shift toward public entities driving the adoption of e-invoicing over the past years. This can particularly be observed within the European Union. After the EU-wide harmonization of e-invoicing standards through EN16931, an increasing amount of EU member-states now rely on the Peppol network’s specifications for the exchange of electronic business documents.

Add China, India, and Latin America to the list of countries/regions where mandates are firmly in place. Trust us - this won’t be the end; countries, like France, have already announced future requirements in 2024.

Not to mention, global invoicing and tax compliance are complex, fragmented, and constantly developing. And as e-invoicing continues to surge across the globe, with it comes a myriad of laws, mandates, and new compliance requirements. Keeping up with all the changes is basically a full-time job – one your business shouldn’t have to worry about.

Instead, your organizations should have a trusted partner whose solutions:

  • Ensure compliance with global mandates

  • Guarantee globally compliant invoice sending & receiving

  • Ensure tax compliance in your AP processes

  • Adhere to local archiving regulation

Using a highly automated AP process, you can seamlessly achieve global tax compliance through automated tax code handling and advanced tax calculations. All thanks to AP automation, which helps you capture all your invoice data electronically, automate matching and workflows, and accelerate your invoice processing cycle.

More Trends to Consider

In our ebook, “Top Procure-to-Pay Trends in 2023 and Beyond” we cover a few more trends that would be helpful to guide your business into the new year and in the next years to come. Download it now.