Common AP practices may be setting SMBs up for financial mistakes

Christal Bemont was formerly Chief Revenue Officer for SAP Concur


ThreeBridge is a fast-growing professional services company whose consultants use cutting-edge technology with all of their clients. But for years, they employed a paper-based vendor invoice management system. “It was very cumbersome…and because it was so manual it often led to a lot of mistakes,” says Blake Kloeckner, ThreeBridge’s Director of Finance.


Turns out there are a lot of finance leaders who know exactly what that’s like.


New data

According to a new survey conducted by Wakefield Research and Concur, 84 percent of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have yet to achieve fully automated AP systems. The survey revealed many SMBs rely on manual processes including: 


  • 69 percent of SMBs use spreadsheets like Excel to track budgets and spend
  • 60 percent store important data in file cabinets
  • Nearly one-half of SMBs surveyed – 49 percent – use handwritten records to track, manage and analyze spend


Unfortunately, these manual processes can lead to mistakes. Of the SMBs surveyed:


  • 47 percent report delays in processing vendor invoices
  • 42 percent report errors in matching invoices to projects or clients
  • 42 percent report errors in reconciling invoices
  • 41 percent report getting hit with late fees from vendors


That means those paper-based systems aren’t just causing headaches – they’re potentially costing
businesses significant amounts of money, over and over again.


Fast relief

The relief for the pains of paper? Automation. By automating invoice management, companies can eliminate mistakes and save money. An IOFM Special Report, sponsored by Concur, found the average cost to process a purchase-order based invoice manually is $9.62, but it drops to $7.03 with a high level of accounts payable automation.


Analysis, not entry

Automated AP processes allow SMBs to analyze real-time data and draw insights that drive cost savings. SMBs are placed into the driver’s seat, fully equipped to control and forecast spend, reduce risk and increase compliance. People who need spending data can get it right away, submit and approve from a mobile device, and track the invoice all the way to payment.


How does that play out in the real world?


After implementing Concur’s automated invoice solution, Blake Kloeckner with ThreeBridge has seen a measurable impact to the company’s bottom line. He says, “Having a single solution for expense and invoice allows us to only have to learn one system, allows us to stay lean, to work faster and work smarter. Now that we can approve invoices right in the Concur system, we’ve cut our production time in half.”


Click here to see more about how ThreeBridge is staying lean with its automated invoice system from Concur. Or learn how small to medium businesses can save time and money by automating their spend management with Concur.


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