5 Accounts Payable Trends to Focus On (for the rest of 2019)
by Jamie Radford
Staying ahead of the game in the accounts payable industry means ensuring that you are up to date with current trends and advancements. With technology constantly evolving and an increased amount of pressure to cut costs wherever possible, it is all too easy to find yourself missing out on useful prospects that will make your work life that little bit easier.
Many of the trends that we see each year contribute to a business’s ability to thrive in a fast-paced corporate world, which leaves little to no room for error – and being able to make sound financial predictions based on the evolution of technology is one of the most valuable assets that an accounts payable professional can have.
Here are five trends in the accounts payable industry that you should probably pay attention to for the second half of this year…
Automation Is a Necessity
AP automation has been a longstanding trend in the accounts payable industry, even if some big companies are yet to implement it. What was once considered a luxury with regards to automation is now a necessity in order to compete in the business climate of the present day. The benefits of automation are absolutely astounding, and aside from being an excellent time-saving and data accuracy tool, your organisation will be able to look forward to contactless invoice processing and invaluable data insights that will pave the way for better financial control and cost-cutting opportunities.
Cloud Technology is Key
If you look at the majority of private and business environments, you will notice that cloud technology is becoming increasingly popular. It is an excellent way of sharing and backing up important document, emails and other applications amongst colleagues, but the general fear in the accounts payable industry is that of hacking and other cyber attacks that could jeapordise sensitive financial information. Cue the multi-cloud strategy that allows businesses to have a complete mixture of workloads that can be running in private, public or hybrid cloud environments and ensure maximum security and protection from cyber crime.
Recent reports have revealed that 86% of corporate businesses have been subject to at least one particular type of fraud over the past two years, and in a bid to eliminate potential attacks, companies are now putting fraud prevention plans into place to protect their assets. Investing in a fully automated procure-to-pay solution will allow employees to instantly access crucial data in real time and respond to any anomalies in an efficient manner.
New Skill Sets Must be Acquired
Since the accounts payable department is rapidly becoming a strategically essential intelligence hub within corporate organisations, the demand for new skill sets amongst AP professionals is increasingly important. Up until recent years, an accounts payable professional would need to have a particular skill set that would allow them to implement accurate and efficient processes and carry out particular tasks in their roles. Expertise in accounting regulations and data entry skills are a necessity to succeed, but as automation increases, 2019 has seen more businesses focusing on skills, like the ability to drive business value, data interpretation and C-suite management communication to name but a few. With the vast amount of rising talent in the world, developing new skills will set you up for career success as an AP professional.
Big Data is a buzzword that we often hear around the workplace, but few people realise that Big Data and the appropriate leveraging of it is key to taking your business to the next level. The majority of companies today have unlimited access to a vast amount of data that they simply aren’t using to their advantage and this is where the accounts payable department has an opportunity to really shine. Learning to accurately leverage such enormous quantities of important financial data housed in the AP department means that you will be able to pinpoint current trends as well as accurately identify those of the future, thus positioning your entire organisation ahead of your competition.
Although we are already almost mid-way through the year, 2019 still has massive potential to be a noteworthy and successful year for the accounts payable industry. Challenges like the ever-increasing threat of fraud and cyber attacks can be somewhat disheartening, but there are also many opportunities to take advantage of. Focusing on current trends such as the five mentioned above, in particular automation, means that accounts payable can become incredibly influential within any business.