During challenging economic times, businesses logically focus their energy on revenue generation and managing direct costs, as these components have the most direct near-term impact to the bottom line. Many organizations have put back-office process improvements on the back burner. What these organizations are overlooking is that A/P process improvements and automation present one of the most attainable and dramatic opportunities for cost savings.
The fact is: most A/P departments are still drowning in paper and manual processes. Aberdeen Group reports that companies that pursue automation and e-invoicing can achieve a 400 percent improvement in both the invoice cycle time as well as the average cost to handle a payment request. 400 percent is a dramatic improvement to back-office costs and in 2010, it’s likely that an increasing number of businesses will recognize this opportunity.
Removing paper from the process and automating manual steps has become easier than ever through the availability of Software-as-a-Service A/P services, which puts the power to innovate and improve in the hands of the very A/P experts that understand the problems best. Best of all, it can be accomplished at a fraction of the cost of traditional software implementations, without burdening IT or incurring large capital expenditures that require executive approval.
I have no doubt that we’ll see an increased number of organizations automate their A/P processes in 2010. As I gear up for our annual client conference the first week of February, I am looking forward to talking with clients who haven’t yet taken the step to automate this process, and hearing their outlook for 2010.