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What to do about payables automation

PayStream Advisors in their work for the 2018 Payables Insight Report found that when consulting on payables automation with organizations of all types, sizes, and industries, there were two questions that came up again, and again: “How do we fix processes given our current state?” and “How do we know where to start?” Their report on payables in the USA covers how to answer these two vital questions. 

PayStream Advisors surveyed over 400 back-office employees in payable departments across several industries and market segments in the USA. Some of the key findings were (All tables and charts below are Source and Copyright 2018 PayStream Advisors):

  • Top causes of late payments and missed discounts were:
  • Payment methods used - commercial least popular:
  • Yet they found that commercial cards have real benefits for employees.

Where to begin in automating payables

A key part of the report is where PayStream Advisers suggest the way to find a suitable automation starting point is to map out the current state and identify benchmarks against similar organizations, as they show in the table below:

Source & Copyright©2018 - PayStream Advisors

PayStream Advisors explain that “Once a company has established its place among its peers, it can lay out its next steps. Some of the best next steps are establishing goals and identifying appropriate questions to begin asking internally (e.g., stakeholders, staff, etc.) and externally (e.g., solution providers).” 

They then give a few examples of questions organizations can ask once they have evaluated their current position:

  • What is the invoice receipt current state?
  • How often are temporary employees needed?
  • What are the AP team’s top pain points?
  • What is the costliest aspect of the current payables process?
  • What are middle management’s top goals?
  • What are the C-suite’s top goals?
  • What is the budget for technology investment?
  • What aspect of the payables process is most important to automate?

CTMfile take: Payables automation is vital in cutting the level of late payments and missed discounts.

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