After a year filled with debate over the likelihood of a recession, the conversation with most finance professionals in 2023 has changed from “if” to "how long and how bad?”
There are things each department can do to ensure their organization not only survives an economic downturn but thrives through it. For accounts payable (AP), that means pursuing goals that streamline processes, simplify tasks, and improve visibility.
Here are three AP goals to help make 2023 a success, regardless of the external factors impacting your business.
Automation has picked up in recent years, but there are still too many finance teams relying on traditional, paper-based processes. An estimated 85% of small-to-medium-sized businesses process invoices manually. 2023 should be the year those teams commit to reducing paperwork. This includes not only reducing physical paper but also streamlining digital documents and processes.
Automating AP and eliminating paper-heavy processes will reduce time spent on manual data entry and other tedious tasks, freeing your team up to focus on more strategic projects, which is especially important in times of economic uncertainty.
Better Visibility into Financial Data
In an economic downturn, every decision a business leader makes carries heavier consequences, but a recent survey showed 55% of business leaders don’t fully trust their data sets. Having real-time visibility into financial data helps leadership make better, faster decisions when it matters most. It also improves accuracy when analyzing costs, allowing organizations to adjust spending when changes need to be made quickly.
With real-time visibility into all money coming in and going out, businesses can also analyze future trends and use predictive analytics to effectively plan for the future, even in the face of economic uncertainty.
Finally, it's important to understand that cases of fraud traditionally rise in times of crisis. With an economic downturn on the horizon, finance teams should make it a priority to improve compliance in their AP department. In addition to reducing vulnerability to fraud, it’s important to stay up-to-date on relevant changes to regulations and new legislation that impact accounting.
Investing in technology solutions that automate AP significantly improves audit management and helps ensure compliance while streamlining invoice processing and payment approval processes.
Finance teams have a lot to consider when setting goals for 2023 but three key improvements to AP – reduced paperwork, better visibility, and improved compliance – not only improve day-to-day operations, but create strategical advantages for the entire organization as we navigate the economic turbulence of 2023.
If you'd like to learn how automation can fuel each of these areas, let's chat.