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AP Automation: Six Catalysts Driving Surge in Demand

With the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic progressing, it is evident that “normal” is a thing of the past and our world will forever be changed. The way we work, collaborate and perform daily tasks has changed. You can even argue they have changed for the better, shining a light on inefficiencies, adopting technologies and ultimately causing us to improve the way we work regardless of location.

COVID-19 was not the single occurrence that started the automation trend, but it certainly accelerated the trend. Accounts payable automation is among the most critical areas of automation for organizations, a traditionally manual and hands-on task. The pandemic left many organizations wondering how they were going to handle this essential business process. The global demand for AP automation is expected to be $3 billion-$3.2 billion by 2026, an increase of 21% from the current $1 billion-$1.2 billion.

Zinnov recently published a blog post outlining the market drivers beyond COVID-19 that are creating the market demand for AP automation. Their six catalysts are as follows:

  1. Strong Focus on Data Accuracy and Invoice Processing Cost Reduction
    Automation can improve data accuracy by eliminating the need for human data entry within the AP process, which can lead to errors. Zinnov also identified e-Invoicing as a mechanism for improving data accuracy and reducing costs as well. The uptick in adoption of e-Invoicing comes from the need to not only improve processing but also improve the process in which invoices are submitted to the business. Solutions such as Kofax Invoice Portal™ can reduce processing costs by up to 80%.

  2. Rise of Smarter AP Automation Solutions
    Through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), AP automation software drives greater straight-through processing, allowing for software to learn process and workflows and identify the various document types used in the invoicing process.

  3. Growth of Real-Time Mobile Management and Approval Access
    COVID has increased the need for remote and mobile access, and this is no different for invoice processing. The ability to approve invoices and handle approval workflows via mobile device is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity.

  4. Increasing Focus on Enhancing Supplier Relationships
    Supplier relations is more critical than ever as supply chains continue to feel the effects of COVID-19. Having strong supplier relationships is not just about paying on time, it is about making it simple and easy to submit invoices through the adoption of e-Invoicing and through partnering with supplier networks.

  5. Surge in Demand for Payment Integrations
    According to Zinnov, 56% of enterprises utilize electronic payments methods, integrating market payment solutions into their AP workflows as a means to further reduce processing costs, save time and gain greater visibility into data.

  6. Growing Focus on Fraud Protection
    There is a certain level of security and validation automation can provide that manual invoice processing cannot. With fraud being a growing concern, migrating to e-Invoicing and eliminating non-electronic invoices can help protect against fraud attempts.

What is your organization's strategy for digital transformation? Zinnov makes a clear case for AP automation as a prime driver that can initiate broader changes to existing business processes throughout the enterprise. Review these resources—case studies, webinars and more—to learn more about the impact AP automation can have on your long-term success.

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