The 5 Top Challenges Plaguing AP Departments

2021-05-07 23:34:03.0 by Alyssa Putzer

The use of technology is surging, but there are still problems that are plaguing AP teams and causing them to lose money, time and a competitive edge.

We partnered with Ardent Partners for their new report, “AP Pulse on the Mid-Market in 2021” to discover some of the hold-ups that AP departments are experiencing so we can do what we can to help them mitigate them. Here’s what they found:

  • Invoice Exceptions: 51 percent of mid-market AP teams surveyed reported that invoice exceptions were their top challenge. Exceptions are the cause of bottlenecks in the AP process and can negatively affect productivity and strategic activity. They are also the main cause of higher processing costs and longer approval times.
  • High Invoice Processing Costs: Nothing says “challenging” like high processing costs. Manually processing paper gets expensive and is incredibly time consuming and is still a huge problem for AP departments. In fact, 53 percent of those surveyed reported high invoice processing costs as their top challenge.
  • Lack of Invoice and Payment Visibility: About 45 percent of those surveyed said that lack of visibility into invoice and payment data is a challenge for them. Having accurate and timely access to invoice and payment data is crucial, especially to mid-market companies that rely on cash flow from operations to fund growth. Without appropriate visibility, they can’t get a clear look at bottlenecks and liabilities.
  • Long Invoice and Payment Approval Times: The name of today’s game is efficiency, and 41 percent of those surveyed reported that invoice and payment approvals are taking too long. This means the approval process and payment process are taking longer than they should be.
  • Staff Time Spent Handling Supplier Inquiries: 28 percent of respondents said that the amount of AP staff time spent handling exceptions is a huge hindrance on their operations. To move forward efficiently, staff can’t be spending all of this time tracking down phone numbers, correcting contact information and interacting with suppliers to get missing information.

At Metafile, we’ve made it our goal to eliminate these challenges and more so AP departments can be as efficient, effective and strategic as possible.


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