The InformationWeek 500 ranking is different than some other lists that simply look for the largest IT expenditures;
“Our clients are innovative,”
Accounts payable automation has a number of different variations, but in this case, it is the elimination of paper by having suppliers key or upload invoices electronically over the internet. Any suppliers unable or unwilling to submit electronic invoices are given a PO Box to send paper invoices where the invoice becomes electronic. The electronic invoices are matched against purchase orders or routed for approval and paid.
Industry benchmarks for invoice processing put the average number of days from receipt to approved at 23 days. In the payables automation examples above the average number of days from receipt to approved for both companies is 3.5 days. Both supplier and buyer have visibility into the progress of the invoice so inquiry calls are reduced and online dispute resolution tools allow issues to be resolved directly between the affected parties rather than putting accounts payable in the middle of it. As one client of payables automation put it, “We don’t do anything anymore, it’s all automated”. As it turns out, it was a little overstated, since they actually moved most of their clerks into an audit function. They still have work to do, just not the work they were doing before automation.
The benefits are obvious, but the question remains as to how long it will take for payables automation to become mainstream. The current buyers are very innovative companies actively looking for progressive technology. While most other companies have a desire to automate, the fear of new technology seems to be too large of a hurdle. A survey by iPayables of large US companies that termed themselves “very interested in payables automation” showed that over 60% had had the initiative as a medium or high priority for over two years without pulling the trigger.
While betting on the newest technologies can have its risks, in this case, the most innovative companies are reaping the benefits of their courage, while their timid counterparts are stagnating in paper.
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iPayables is the leading provider of advanced electronic invoice, approval workflow, and payment solutions. Our broad service offering is used by more than 26,000 companies in over 150 countries, including over half of the Fortune 100 companies. For more information go to http://www.ipayables.com