New Survey Finds Increased Growing Pains Among SMBs: As Companies Grow, So Do Financial Management Challenges and Invoice Errors

New Survey by Concur Shows Almost Half of SMBs Continue to Make AP Mistakes Even Though 97 Percent Recognize Efficient Solutions Are Available


Dec. 20, 2016 – Bellevue, Wash. – Concur, the world’s leading provider of travel, expense and invoice management solutions, today revealed findings from a new survey on how business growth affects core financial functions and offered strategies for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to confront these challenges in 2017.


The online survey, conducted by Wakefield Research, polled 500 employees with AP responsibilities at small- and medium-sized companies in the US and discovered:


  • SMBs are living with accounts payable mistakes even though they know there is a way to avoid them. Nearly half of SMBs report having made accounts payable mistakes even though 97 percent recognize there are more effective ways to manage AP processes.


  • Vital AP processes become more difficult as a company grows in size. Top responsibilities cited as more challenging due to growth include collecting invoices (55 percent), paying invoices on time (53 percent), identifying trends in spending (53 percent) and spend forecasting (52 percent).


  • Growing businesses need to adapt processes to handle more data and eliminate error – but that’s not always easy. Many companies have experienced financial mistakes including delays in processing vendor invoices (47 percent), errors in applying invoices to projects and clients (42 percent), errors in reconciling invoices (42 percent) and late fees from vendors (41 percent).


  • Errors directly affect a company’s bottom line. Sixty-five percent of medium-sized businesses and 42 percent of small businesses report that paying invoices on time is an issue. Due to delayed and late invoice payments, nearly one-half of medium-sized businesses report experiencing late fees from vendors.


“As SMBs grow, it’s important they have an AP strategy and tools that can scale with them,” said Christal Bemont, SVP and GM of Small, Midsized and Nationals, Concur. “AP solutions that are inefficient and prone to error can easily cut into a business’s bottom line. By automating AP processes, businesses can more accurately and effectively manage cash flow, helping them grow their business at their own pace.”


The survey reveals that 95 percent of SMBs experience accounts payable (AP) challenges tied to growth. Respondents call out invoice management, spend analysis and forecasting as the most difficult tasks. Invoice management is especially challenging, as SMBs report more errors as the business grows. 


Concur offers an invoice solution that is automated, integrated and scalable, helping eliminate AP errors so companies can better manage cash flow and accurately forecast future spending.


To get these results, Wakefield Research surveyed employees at US businesses with less than 750 employees. Its methodology included engaging survey respondents first with an email invitation, followed by a 20-question online survey. Magnitude of variation is approximately 4.4 percentage points. Survey data breakouts are available by respondents’ age, gender, years in business and at their current company, as well as the company’s annual revenue, business region and size.


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About Concur

Concur, an SAP company, imagines the way the world should work, offering cloud-based services that make it simple to manage travel, expense and invoice. By connecting data, applications and people, Concur delivers an effortless experience and total transparency into spending wherever and whenever it happens. Concur services adapt to individual employee preferences and scale to meet the needs of companies from small to large, so they can focus on what matters most for their businesses. Learn more at or the Concur blog.

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