As we move into 2023, the role of Accounts Payable (AP) in enhancing an organization’s bottom line and overall performance has become increasingly prominent. AP departments have been driven to embrace digital transformation to thrive in the uncertain economic environment. In this article, we will explore the top 10 trends shaping Accounts Payable (AP) automation Trends in 2023, as outlined in Ardent Partners’ Accounts Payable 2023: BIG Trends and Predictions report.
Factors Impacting AP Operations
Before diving into the emerging trends, let’s first take a look at the key factors impacting AP operations today:
With these factors in mind, let’s explore the top 10 trends shaping AP in 2023.
Electronic invoicing, or eInvoicing, has been gaining traction as a means to streamline the invoicing process, reduce errors, and enhance compliance. As more countries adopt eInvoicing standards, AP departments will need to adapt their processes to comply with these requirements. This trend will lead to the widespread adoption of eInvoicing solutions that can handle various formats and ensure compliance with regional regulations.
Hyperautomation refers to the combination of multiple automation technologies, such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML), to automate end-to-end processes. This trend will drive AP departments to adopt hyperautomation solutions that can handle tasks like data extraction, invoice matching, approval routing, and payment processing, thereby reducing manual work and enhancing efficiency.
3. Integration with ERP Systems
Seamless integration between AP systems and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems will become increasingly important. This integration will eliminate the need for double data entry, streamline processes, and enable real-time visibility into AP data across the organization. As a result, AP departments will seek solutions that can easily integrate with their existing ERP systems and provide a unified platform for managing their payables.
4. AI-Powered Fraud Detection
Fraud detection and prevention are critical concerns for AP departments. AI-powered solutions will play a significant role in enhancing AP security by identifying patterns and anomalies that indicate potential fraud, such as duplicate invoices or unusual payment requests. By leveraging AI, AP departments can proactively flag suspicious transactions for review and reduce the risk of financial losses due to fraud.
5. Cloud-Based AP Solutions
The adoption of cloud-based AP solutions will continue to grow as more organizations recognize the benefits of moving their AP operations to the cloud. Cloud-based solutions offer increased efficiency, scalability, and accessibility, enabling AP teams to work remotely and access real-time data from anywhere. As a result, AP departments will increasingly turn to cloud-based platforms to manage their payables and improve overall productivity.
6. Real-Time Reporting and Analytics
The ability to access real-time data and generate insightful reports and analytics is becoming increasingly important for AP departments. These insights can help organizations identify areas for improvement, optimize cash flow management, and make better-informed decisions. As a result, AP departments will seek solutions that provide real-time reporting and analytics capabilities, allowing them to harness the full potential of their AP data.
7. Touchless Payments
Touchless payments, enabled by technologies such as AI and ML, allow organizations to process and pay vendor invoices with minimal manual intervention. This trend will lead to the widespread adoption of touchless payment solutions, which save time and reduce errors by automating key AP tasks. In addition, touchless payments can help organizations build stronger relationships with their vendors by ensuring timely and accurate payments.
8. Strengthening Supply Chain Relationships
Maintaining strong relationships with vendors and suppliers is more important than ever, given the ongoing supply chain disruptions. Automated AP processes can help organizations pay their vendors on time and potentially negotiate early-payment discounts, improving their standing with suppliers. As a result, AP departments will increasingly focus on leveraging automation to strengthen their supply chain relationships and secure a competitive advantage.
9. Mobile Payment Options
With the rise of mobile payment apps like Venmo and Google Pay, some vendors may prefer to receive payments through these platforms. By offering a variety of payment options, AP departments can cater to their vendors’ preferences and further enhance their reputation as reliable payers. This accounts payable automation trends will drive AP departments to adopt solutions that support a wide range of payment methods, including mobile payments.
10. Inflation and Cash Flow Management
As inflation continues to rise, effective cash flow management becomes even more crucial for organizations. AP departments play a significant role in managing cash outflows and can contribute to their organizations’ efforts to offset inflation-related costs. By adopting advanced cash flow management tools and leveraging analytics, AP departments can make strategic adjustments to their payment processes and save money in challenging economic times.
Embracing AP Automation and Digital Transformation
To stay ahead of the curve, AP departments should begin by identifying the processes that would benefit most from automation and evaluating their technology needs. Ensuring that automated AP systems are integrated with other core systems, such as ERP, will allow organizations to benefit from real-time data and analytics insights.
By embracing these accounts payable automation trends and adopting the appropriate automation technologies, AP departments can improve their efficiency, enhance their security, and strengthen their relationships with vendors and suppliers, ultimately contributing to their organizations’ overall success in a rapidly changing business landscape.