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Ardent Partners Heralds Accounts Payables’ “New Dawn”

Ardent Partners recently published a report* based on responses from 245 participants in accounts payable (AP) and finance roles predicting 2013 as the year of AP’s New Dawn. What does this mean? Fundamentally, the research firm is finding that what separates best-in-class AP organizations that play a strategic role in a company’s financial operations from all the rest is the ability to leverage technology and automation. Moreover, when an AP organization succeeds in improving efficiency and increasing value for the enterprise, these departments can rise to new levels of performance.

The sentiments around how paperless technology can help drive this evolution are clear. In fact, 52% of respondents named migration off paper-based processes as their top priority and 47% of respondents consider lengthy processing times to be their top challenge. And yet, significant challenges still face even those AP departments who are looking to evolve. Supplier participation seems to be the top barrier to going paperless, with a secondary reason being the resources needed to integrate new solutions to internal or supplier systems. 74% of invoices received by companies responding to the survey are still being in manual formats such as paper, PDF, email or fax.

On the payments side, electronic technology is making progress and the report data suggests that companies are clearly trending toward paperless payments:

  • 53% of payments made by companies responding to the survey are now being made electronically
  • 81% of respondents indicated that ACH payments have increased over the past two years

Another key takeaway from the research is that the chief priority for AP leaders regarding the implementation of new AP capabilities is the improvement of linkage across the procure-to-pay (“P2P”) process to achieve better alignment from an organizational standpoint. Having visibility into spend, invoices, and processes across the P2P spectrum can provide numerous improvement opportunities for the business.

These types of insights lead Ardent Partners to conclude that AP can add very real value to the financial operations of a company – from procurement to P2P and treasury – by helping to provide much-needed visibility into payables and access to accurate information on current financial liabilities or opportunities to capture early payment discounts, for example. The research firm also shares the practices of best-in-class organizations and outlines strategies for success. We are happy to provide a free copy of the report in its entirety here.

The ADP Procure-to-Pay Solutions® can help your AP organization move away from tactical duties to more strategic objectives, delivering more value to your enterprise.



* Patel, V. (2013). ePayables 2013: AP’s New Dawn © 2013 Ardent Partners, Ltd.

The ADP Logo, ADP Procure-to-Pay Solutions and ADP are registered trademarks of ADP, Inc. © 2013 ADP, Inc.


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