Publisher’s Note: Today’s article is a preview from our recent report, Maximizing the Value of Accounts Payable Through Automation and Intelligence, sponsored by Certify. Interested readers can download this report by clicking here.

Within the business world, how organizations succeed and grow depends very much on how they are able to energize their traditional, back-office functions into processes that can provide value. Yet it is these traditional functions, like the accounts payable (AP) unit, that have long been ignored when it comes to understanding its true value. In fact, Ardent Partners Research shows that only 33% of businesses today view their AP operations as either “exceptionally” or “very” valuable.

The AP function has long served as a foundation to the standard operations of a typical business. But today, organizations typically focus on tactical execution at the expense of creating strategic value. This is a disservice to the enterprise as a whole, since leading AP departments have shown that when you are able to transform the AP process, it can deliver both strategic and bottom-line value. The two main challenges that today’s AP functions currently face – legacy processes and a lack of visibility into the function as a whole – have prevented organizations from being able to utilize AP in a more strategic way. But we are seeing more and more organizations attempt to expand the value of AP through automation.

The first major issue that AP teams face today is the role of outdated and manual processes for managing invoices and invoice-related programs. These traditional AP processes sink long-term efficiency plans and derail cost reduction and cash management efforts. Manual invoice processing corresponds directly with the second major issue that AP teams face today, which is a lack of visibility into reporting. Addressing these challenges can provide real-time insights and on-demand intelligence to AP leaders and practitioners.

For starters, the data held within invoices is valuable for short-term cash forecasts but it also can be incredibly useful for other groups within the organization. Whether it is from treasury, procurement, or other stakeholders, being able to utilize invoice-based intelligence can provide long-term corporate planning, forecasting, and budgeting. Fortunately, the AP function is now well-positioned to tackle these challenges through automation and intelligence.

In this report, Maximizing the Value of Accounts Payable Through Automation and Intelligence, sponsored by Certify, we provide further data and analysis into what AP and finance professionals are doing to tackle the two main issues their departments are facing today. We also provide our own recommendations to get AP out from the back-office and help boost the true strategic value of the accounts payable function. To access the full report with all of the criteria and recommendations, click here.


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