Over the past two years, the global pandemic has put increasing pressure on businesses. And yet, the momentum of Accounts Payable has not been impaired. Rather, the COVID-19 crisis re-emphasised the importance of the AP function when it comes to delivering value for the business.
But what lies in store for AP departments? In this article, we gather insights from the Ardent Partners’ research report “Accounts Payable (AP) Metrics that Matter in 2022” to examine what teams are focusing on in the year ahead.
AP’s biggest hurdles
The main hurdles facing AP professionals in 2022 highlight the pressing need for end-to-end automation to manage invoice and payment processing:
- Invoice/payment approvals take too long
- High percentage of exceptions
- Too much paper
- Manual B2B payments
- Late supplier payments
Lengthy approval times and too many invoice exceptions, in particular, reflect a significant need for better overall visibility, management and facilitation of core AP tasks.
Percent of invoices received electronically
In 2022, the average AP organisation now receives 55% of its invoices electronically. Lockdown and social distancing measures no doubt played a part in more companies eliminating paper invoices from their AP and AR processes.
The top B2B payment strategies for 2022
How and when suppliers are paid has become a key area of focus for most organisations since the pandemic struck. In 2022, more AP and finance leaders are focusing on developing a greater level of sophistication in how they pay vendors to capture greater savings. Here’s a breakdown of the core B2B payment strategies that AP professionals are implementing, according to Ardent Partners:
- Pay when invoices are due or payments are late (56%)
- Pay early to receive discounts (44%)
- Earn card rebates (33%)
- Extend payment terms with suppliers (31%)
- No formal strategy, pay when ready (28%)
Invoice and payment fraud on the rise
Ardent Partners’ research found that nearly four out of ten (38%) of all businesses reported a business payment fraud attack over the past year. Fraudsters have clearly taken advantage of the need to conduct business outside the office and operate virtually over the past two years.
Looking ahead, payment fraud attacks will be part of the new normal for AP departments, and strategies and tools designed to combat them will become more important.
AP’s agenda for 2022
In the Ardent Partners report, the AP agenda is clear, with professionals focusing on four clear goals for 2022:
- Improve AP reporting and analytics (55%)
- Eliminate paper and reduce manual tasks (41%)
- Enable suppliers to submit invoices electronically (36%)
- Eliminate paper check payments (30%)
From this data, the path forward is clear. AP must become a self-sustaining hub of intelligence and operational prowess, ready to support strategic enterprise endeavours while serving as a vital source of financial knowledge that can impact critical corporate decision-making.
Download the report for free to discover more AP insights
We’ve only just touched the surface of the insights unlocked in the Ardent Partners’ Accounts Payable Metrics that Matter in 2022.
Download the report, to discover more AP metrics and learn what teams are doing to achieve best-in-class status.