Accounts Payable Trends

Rather surprisingly (or not), accounts payables trends in North America show that many organizations are behind those in other countries when it comes to digital transformation and back-office digitalization.  That’s one of the observations in the 2019 Payables Insight Report from Levvel Research, sponsored in part by DocStar.

Levvel Research finds that the lag in North America is greatly due to differences in tax structure and regulation.  In Europe and Latin America, the use of electronic invoices is regulated to ensure compliance with value-added tax laws.  In North America, taxes are primarily based on sales and income.

There is some good news for North American organizations. Even though they are laggards in the global arena, there has been significant progress over the past few years as companies begin to realize the value of AP automation and digital transformation, and how these can affect scalability and long-term competitive advantages.  Many organizations embrace partial automation and are moving toward greater efficiency through continued technology adoption.

In terms of accounts payables trends in North America, Levvel found three significant shifts:

  • Diversifying software options are widening the process automation market. Traditionally, business process solutions were designed and priced for larger enterprises with more resources to support the investment. Now many options are available for a wider range of organizations, and some of these offer flexible deployment models that include both cloud and on-premises.  This makes AP automation and business process automation more readily available.
  • Back-office automation is embracing the strategic philosophies of digital transformation. Digital transformation is the application of digital technologies to fundamentally impact all aspects of business. Companies are recognizing that applying technology to the back office can benefit financial and operational health just as much as targeting customer-facing initiatives. In a separate study, researchers at Gartner found that 66% of companies undertaking digital transformation expect to generate more revenue from their operations, while 48% predict that more business will arrive through digital channels.
  • Payables automation is being leveraged to enable scalable growth and disruptive business evolution. The final reason the North American market is rapidly adopting AP automation is that SMEs are recognizing the importance technology has for scalability and creating a long-term competitive advantage much more quickly than larger organizations did, making an early embrace of back-office automation the new best practice for businesses aiming to become market leaders. In a related study, Levvel reports that companies are leveraging their investment in AP automation across different area of the their operations including HR and sales, further helping organizations compete more effectively.

The entire accounts payables trends report examines the varying degrees of automation and efficiency among North American (primarily United States) organizations’ AP processes, and what motivates or hinders technology adoption. The report also examines the variances in the tools available for AP and payments processing, explores why organizations choose one type of tool over another, and provides a high-level summary of the features and functionality of leading payables automation software. This report helps organizations understand where they stand among their peers in terms of AP efficiency so that they can determine the optimal path toward automation and operational excellence.

Read the report.