Accounts Payable function is fundamental to the operational and financial success of many organizations across the globe. Yet it continues to be viewed as a cost center.
It was never uncommon to hear of documents buried in paper trails, missed discounts and strained supplier relationships, etc. But recently, the pandemic added to these woes and proved that the ways in which many Accounts Payable teams still operate are not just dated and costly, but may also put the health and safety of employees at risk.
Stuck in the dusty alcoves of the back-office and bogged down by a myriad of time-consuming, manual tasks, an un-optimized AP Function is host to a slew of redundancies, avoidable costs, and frustrating friction areas.
Not recognizing and dealing with these redundancies will become increasingly costlier to businesses – competition is already at an all-time high and teams are being asked to deliver more every year. And in addition, issues like climate change mean that uncertainties and global disruptions will only become more frequent with time. In this backdrop, organizations that still haven’t got on the AP Automation bandwagon need to ‘level up’ to survive.
Fortunately, as per the latest bodies of research, these problems aren’t just easily rectifiable but they’re also ones that are likely to pay the most dividends once solved. Case in point: Gartner’s research found that AP (APIA in specific) is one of the best applications of artificial intelligence in a business, both in terms of business value and in terms of feasibility.
Another year has rolled by leaving the same writing on the wall, only this time it’s louder and clearer: Digital transformation has well and truly arrived at procurement’s doorstep.
But up until now, it has merely received a lukewarm welcome.
In 2019, that could change. The winds of digital transformation are slowly but surely turning the wheels of procurement and savvy procurement teams are beginning to acknowledge its benefits. This is evident from how procurement teams are beginning to perceive digital transformation.
Consider this: A recent Hackett Group study titled, 2019 Procurement Key Issues, has revealed that digital transformation is a critical goal for a majority of procurement departments in 2019.
That’s because over the years digital transformation has moved its way up the ladder in the procurement department. In 2018, more than 90 percent of procurement professionals said they believed digital transformation will fundamentally shift the way procurement services are getting delivered within two to three years, according to a Hackett Group survey. Compared with 2017, this is more than a 10-percent increase.
Remarkably, the percentage of organizations that have a formal strategy for digital transformation more than doubled in the last two years, from 32 percent in 2017 to 66 percent in 2018. In the same period, the number of organizations indicating they have the resources to handle the transformation also increased, from 25 percent in 2017 to 46 percent in 2018.
This is a clear indication that in 2019 the gap between the promise of digital transformation and leveraging it to its full potential will narrow.
At the same time, the gap between CPOs who haven’t yet embraced digital transformation and high-performing procurement organizations that have already gained a first-mover advantage will widen. They’ll have a lot of ground to cover to keep pace with the latter.