Transforming AP Processes in Higher Ed to Match the Times and Control Costs

Good cash flow is one of the most important and fundamental aspects of running any organization. It’s also one of the most challenging. With hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of transactions occurring in a single day, keeping track of where money is spent, when it has been paid, and encumbrances you need to account for at all times is no small task.

In higher education, where many sources of funding are regulated, this is true even in the best of times. Now, in the midst of a global pandemic, the importance of tracking every dollar is higher than ever. With enrollments down, student refunds, campus closures, and other struggles, AP teams are under pressure to scrutinize every dollar spent, redefine processes, and evolve to meet the times.

IDC White Paper

SAP Concur Facilitates Automated Management of Financial Operations


Teams that rely on outdated technology or manual invoice processes have an even steeper hill to climb. Along with increased processing and approval times, limited visibility on spending, and mistakes that plague manual invoice processes, COVID-19 has made invoice management even more difficult than it already was.

As most employees work from home, paper invoices have been rolling in and stacking up for months or getting lost in the shuffle. These, of course, need to be processed and come flooding in when employees return to offices, and in some cases, with fewer staff to handle the increased workload.


Digital transformation is the key

With budgets tight, and no clear sense when this pandemic will end, it’s critical that higher education institutions invest where it matters most. And that means identifying affordable technology that’s easy to deploy, easy to use, and provides an immediate return on investment. 

Concur Invoice uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to capture and analyze spend data, automate AP processes, track costs, and keep invoice backlog to a minimum. Organizations can have staff up and running in just a few weeks, and through this cloud-based software AP teams can: 

  • Centralize payment processing in a work-from-home environment
  • Eliminate manual data entry 
  • Reimburse students efficiently and reliably
  •  Pay suppliers on time to keep relationships strong and receive early payment discounts
  • Forecast budgets accurately 

Before the pandemic, automating and digitizing AP processes was a step that many finance leaders had taken (or were at least considering) to improve back-office systems and drive business value. While today it may seem that waiting until life is “back to normal” is the most fiscally responsible decision, putting off implementing a solution will only put institutions further behind in their stabilization and recovery efforts.

IDC interviewed eight organizations that currently use Concur Invoice and found that they’re experiencing significant value, including average annual benefits of $662,700 per organization ($3,258 per 1,000 invoices) and a three-year return on investment of a whopping 634%.

To read the full report and see how modernizing invoice management can help your organization, download it free here.

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