An efficient accounts payable process has always been at the heart of a streamlined finance function. However, 2021 can well be defined as a year of sky-high stakes. Let’s face it – at a time when your business is looking to bounce back from an economic blow, you will not only want to avoid financial liabilities but would also like to maintain healthy supplier relationships and maximise discounts & rebates.
In order to keep up with this highly competitive and dynamic business landscape, finance leaders are increasingly looking at accounts payable outsourcing and automation solutions. But before you do that, it is important to know how accounts payable, as a function, has evolved and the direction it is heading to. In this article, I will try to list down the top accounts payable trends for 2022 that are expected to shape payables in the coming year.
Five Accounts Payable Trends to Watch Out in 2022
1. E-invoicing is the new normal: Paper invoices have long dominated payables in businesses across industries. Of course, a number of organisations have been shifting to digital invoicing over the last few years and the pandemic has only further accelerated this trend. 2022, however, is expected to be the year where we start bidding adieu to these traditional methods of invoice exchange on a large scale. As optimisation becomes a top priority for finance leaders, e-invoices submitted in standard formats will facilitate automation of repetitive tasks like invoice receipt and data extraction.
To make e-invoicing a reality, businesses are also expected to look at specialist accounts payable outsourcing companies that will open the doors to dedicated invoicing portals and streamline the process of supplier onboarding.
2. Supplier management goes digital: While accounts payable automation of routine tasks has been written & spoken about extensively, management of suppliers is one aspect of the function that continued to be done manually – until the world was hit by COVID-19. In a bid to further optimise their payables, businesses started investing in supplier portals that streamline vendor communication. Such platforms are expected to gain more steam in 2022 as they allow businesses to set up a transparent communication channel between both the parties, facilitating seamless flow of information & documents, order tracking and business relationship management.
3. Remote & hybrid work is here to stay: Of the many ideological changes brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak, a shift in the way we work is probably the most significant. According to a report by Future Workforce, the number of employees working remotely will double by 2025. If these stats are anything to go by, 2022 will be the year where accounts payable start branching out of the physical office space with a higher number of professionals opting for remote, hybrid or agile working models.
While on one hand this flexibility is bound to boost productivity and increase talent retention amongst AP teams, it is also likely to translate into a higher demand for accounts payable automation solutions. To enable this change in the work setting, businesses will inevitably have to move towards cloud implementation and electronic invoicing.
4. Cybersecurity becomes the need of the hour: While remote & hybrid workers open up endless talent possibilities for a business, they are also more likely to be the root cause of many a cybersecurity threats.
As organisations adapt to flexible working, they will also have to be extra cautious in the coming year when it comes to securing their payables function. Going ahead, finance teams are expected to give higher importance to setting and implementing data security measures which involves endpoint security, data and asset management, checking for code vulnerability and management of identity & credentials.
5. Data moves up the priority list: Data has been the buzzword amongst finance leaders for quite some time now. However, owing to the high costs of hiring dedicated data experts and bandwidth issues amongst onshore finance teams, most businesses tend to overlook the potential of financial data altogether. If the market scenario is to by, that could change entirely in 2022.
While accounts payable automation will hold the key in this coming year, finance leaders are also expected to look at data to identify loopholes and optimise the function. Furthermore, companies will also want to leverage predictive analysis to future-proof themselves from economic upheavals. Outsourcing accounts payable to an experienced vendor allows businesses to ensure timely, customised reporting which can, in turn lead to smarter procurement decisions.
RELATED CASE STUDY: Do you know that QX worked with one of the world’s largest beverage producers & distributors on a process optimisation project – transforming their procurement through a combination of the right people, process & platforms? Read the case study to know the whole story!
QX’s Outsourced Accounts Payables Services
QX Global Group offers customised finance & accounting services to businesses across geographies and industries. Our outsourced accounts payable services allow you to implement latest procurement technology, exploit new avenues of cost savings and build better supplier relationships. Get in touch to speak with our finance transformation experts today for a no-obligation consultation.
Originally published Jan 12, 2022 07:01:46, updated Jan 12 2022