This release at Intrado GlobeNewswire provides some bulleted detail on the latest version of an accounts payable report from the Massachusetts-based fintech Mineral Tree, which provides mobile and online accounts payable automation software for finance professionals. The company has been conducting surveys and releasing similar reports now for the past six years.
One of the things that readers have been hearing on these pages and elsewhere is that the pandemic is accelerating the adoption of digital solutions across financial operations. This report from Mineral Tree, which one can download from the press release, provides some support for that assertion in the form of survey data.
‘The research effort surveyed finance executives about the impact of the pandemic on their AP operations, supplier relationships, the use of different electronic payment methods, and their adoption of AP automation…..COVID, remote work mandates, and supply chain dependencies all helped accelerate the digitization of businesses, especially in the back office where inefficient manual processes created enormous challenges for staff. The strategic importance of AP was elevated as organizations recognized the need for better cash flow management and prompt supplier payments to keep goods and services flowing. ‘
Reading the report summary is a reinforcement of many things we have been advising members for years, and one of those is that the best way to get optimal results in financial operations is through automation, and planning for that effort should include an end-to-end review to see how all the pieces can digitally converge. Amazingly enough, the report also suggests that even though digital is ‘in’ and accelerating, a majority of respondents still have checks continuing to be high-volume payables tools.
This speaks to the lingering inertia around not fixing what isn’t perceived to be broken while ignoring the opportunity cost and potential competitive disadvantages of failing to transform. Interested readers should read the piece and if further interested, download the full report.
“An end-to-end approach can deliver enormous operational efficiencies, better cash management, better fraud protection, and richer insights—all while accelerating digital payment growth,” said MineralTree President Vijay Ramnathan. “We’ve seen this within our own customer base, where many organizations have reaped the benefits of AP Automation since the pandemic and the percentage of ACH and virtual card spend has grown 31% and 270% respectively. Despite the perceived barriers, the business case for AP automation is actually quite compelling, with a very quick payback and significant short- and long-term ROI.”
Overview by Steve Murphy, Director, Commercial and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group