Survey Results In: What Is Your Biggest Challenge in the Invoicing and Payables Process?

July 26, 2013 Bhaji Illuminati

Last week we were having a little internal debate about what we thought the biggest perceived challenge in the invoicing and payables process was. We all agreed that it was one of the following:

  1. High cost of manually processing invoices
  2. Missed early payment discount opportunities
  3. AP Department drowning in paper
  4. Unnecessary invoice status and inquiry calls

But what we couldn't agree on was which one. So we decided to take a step back, and let those directly involved in the process answer for us.

We surveyed over 50 people from 30 companies with over 1,000 employees. Of those surveyed, the average AP staff size was 11 (range 4-26), and the departments varied, with the majority (60%) in accounts payable.

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And what was the verdict?

The high cost of manually processing invoices is perceived as the biggest challenge in the invoicing and payables process (chosen by 43% of respondents), followed by missed early payment discounting opportunities (27%), unnecessary invoice status and inquiry calls (26%), and lastly, AP departments drowning in paper (4%).

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With paper invoice processing costs averaging $15/invoice, according to PayStream Advisors, and electronic invoice processing costs a mere $1.25/invoice; it's no surprise that this is the number one pain point. However, it's interesting that 27% of respondents state that missed early payment discount opportunities is their number one pain point, because just last year 88% of invoices in the US offered no discount at all (PayStream Advisors). And it's no surprise that unnecessary invoice status and inquiry calls comes in a close third, because according to a ReadSoft customer survey, 25% of accounts payable professionals' time is spent on the phone with supplier inquiries and maintaining supplier data. (For more interesting stats check out this infographic).

The good news? The financial supply chain is evolving and organizations are adapting, and these challenges are being recognized and addressed. Companies like Taulia devote themselves to easing the challenges in the invoicing and payables process, making your lives a lot easier, and saving you millions :)

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