Bring Home the Bacon: 2016 Trends in Accounts Payable Automation / Financial Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Get ready to bring home some more bacon in 2016! These accounting automation tools will change the way you run your business this year.

As big data, mobile solutions and the cloud converge, CFOs and their accounting teams have a lot to gain as they move towards a more integrated and comprehensive view of their financial picture.

When it comes to making and accepting payments, things are changing at a very rapid rate. 

Here are three trends to watch out for in 2016 when it comes to accounts payable automation, and what they mean for you.

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We’re Going Mobile

Mobile solutions have the power to improve communication and accelerate the speed and accuracy of doing business. According to Gartner’s Top Mobile Technologies for 2015 & 2016, Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM) - considered the future evolution and convergence of mobile device, mobile applications, and enterprise file sharing - will mature, grow in scope, and eventually address a wide range of mobile management needs across devices and operating systems. 

Look for Accounts Payable Automation software and services that allow AP teams to workflow-enable smartphones, tablets and notebooks to extend access to key information and extend collaboration to users on the go. And with the new WiFi standards ready to hit the ground running, look for routers capable of delivering link rates from 7-10 Gbps. That means faster access and improved mobile connectivity for enterprise applications.

Driven by Data

As more businesses utilize software tools like AP Automation, ECM and ERP, the availability of data is helping executives gain insight, improve performance, identify growth trends and manage mistakes. Being a data-driven organization means setting goals and consistently utilizing real-time knowledge to inform and innovate. With added transparency, businesses can use accurate data to make decisions on financial forecasting, customer relationship management, and overall process improvement. A recent

With added transparency, businesses can use accurate data to make decisions on financial forecasting, customer relationship management, and overall process improvement. A recent A.T. Kearney-Carnegie Mellon LEAP Study concluded that “data and decision making can no longer reside in their silos; data must inform decision making to unlock competitive advantage.”

Understanding what information AP departments need to collect and then using that data helps to reduce bottlenecks, accelerate procure-to-pay cycles, improve vendor relations and increase early pay discounts. A shift to a truly data-driven organization can reduce guesswork and help form a cohesive, informed operational strategy based on real-time data. 

And it doesn’t stop there. With cloud-based systems on the rise, even the smallest businesses can reap the benefits of automating their AP process, and begin to access and leverage business-critical data across the enterprise. With process transparency, any organization can see improved decision making in forecasting, budgeting, and overall cash position.

Getting Comfortable in the Cloud

According to Accenture’s 2015 BusinessTechnology Trends report, we should move beyond  simply talking about the cloud and start “putting the cloud to work and crafting an overarching approach that weaves cloud capabilities into the fabric of IT solutions and responses – with business value the uppermost priority.”

An impressive 81 percent of businesses surveyed believe that in the future “industry boundaries will dramatically blur as platforms reshape industries into interconnected ecosystems. Huge efficiencies can and will be gained as businesses continue to master digital technologies internally.”

With low overhead, minimal upfront costs and the ability to access and manage data from any device and any location, AP automation via cloud technology is something more and more businesses are waking up to. Furthermore, according to a recent study by Goldman Sachs, spending on cloud computing infrastructure and platforms is expected to grow at a 30 percent compound annual rate from 2013 through 2018 - compared with a 5 percent growth for the overall enterprise IT market.

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Newer cloud-based AP products have the potential to integrate easily with your existing GL or ERP system. With full integration, companies can gain greater efficiency and insight into their business by reducing manual data entry and gaining swift access to relevant, precise and actionable financial information –across the globe.

Technology is swiftly shifting the way businesses perform from the back office to the boardroom. By utilizing mobile technologies, comprehensive analytics and the flexibility of the cloud, AP departments from the smallest companies to the Fortune 500s can increase efficiency and predictability – starting today.

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