Most accounts payable professionals predict that their department will be “slightly” or “significantly” more strategic in the eyes of senior financial executives within the next five years, per the Institute of Financial Management’s (IOFM) The Future of Accounts Payable survey.
But accounts payable has a lot of work to do to make this a reality.
When asked about current senior management perceptions of accounts payable, 29 percent of accounts payable professionals surveyed by IOFM thought their senior management would say, “Accounts payable ‘gets the work done.’” Similarly, 20 percent of accounts payable professionals believe senior management would say, “Accounts payable is efficient and accurate,” IOFM finds.
That’s hardly a ringing endorsement as a trusted strategic resource.
Senior management would likely say, “Accounts payable is only on my radar when there is a problem,” according to one-quarter of the accounts payable professionals surveyed by IOFM.
Only 13 percent of those surveyed believe their senior management would say, “Accounts payable is a strategic partner that is constantly working to add value.” Worse, three percent of respondents believe senior management would say they are not familiar with their accounts payable group.
These findings suggest that accounts payable has a long way to go in re-positioning itself from a tactical back-office function into a strategic partner within the organization. AP solutions offer a step in the right direction by unlocking the financial data trapped on invoices.
The invoice data captured by AP solutions is crucial to helping senior management make informed financial and strategic decisions that drive corporate profitability and growth. The insights provided by AP solutions also enhance visibility into cash flow, help users mitigate the risks of fraud and uncover early payment discount opportunities.
Without AP solutions, accounts payable departments will continue to be a tactical back-office function and miss their chance to become a strategic partner to the enterprise.