The very digital nature of many industries and workplaces is charting our AP map to new courses, there is no doubt about that. A vast number of businesses have changed their systems and processes to be mostly automated and more are following suit with each passing month.

 

First and foremost, with the speed at which robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) is increasing its position in our daily life, this is set to catapult AP departments to increasing levels of automation during the course of the year.

 

Here are some more changes we think the AP industry will be seeing during the coming year…

 

The ability to influence and control some powerful data

Think of how big Google has grown in the relatively short time it has been established. This is not just because they have been offering services that vast numbers of the population need but because they have created the ability to extensively track their users’ movements, likes, dislikes and habits. And with information to hand such as their names, ages, family members and spending amounts too, they can now use this data to control what adverts their users see, so the fees they can rake in from advertisers due to the sheer volume of data they hold is incredible.

Now turn your mind to the AP industry and even your own company. Imagine the positive influence that harnessing the power of all the data your company holds could have… Being able to learn how customers behave and analyse the reports that show payment timelines, turnaround times and other valuable information to enable better decisions… The information gleaned from the AP department’s data can also help managers to gain an insight into what other departments need, meaning that departments have the opportunity to build better collaborative relationships for the overall improvement and growth of the company.

 

Wider specialised software usage

Not only is data information and usage set to be leveraged more during 2019, but the use of AP software is likely to be implemented on a wider basis. AP software has the ability to find patterns and other vital information within sets of data with a few simple clicks of a mouse. Software implementation will also mean time-saving on data analysis as well as a range of other benefits.

 

Intelligent data capture

Accounts payable has been found to be one of the most time-consuming and labour-intensive functions within finance and great strides have been made towards increased digitisation. Not only does this provide the ability to automate invoice processes but it also sets the pace for automation to become a greater part of the AP department. With this digitisation and automation already making waves and 2019 showing the promise of further movement in this direction, technologies are due to provide huge time-saving measures and other benefits thanks to technology that intelligently captures data, has the ability to extract important information, validate it and classify it – all automatically!

 

Increased mobile usage

Software is improving and mobile software usage is becoming more and more of a daily occurrence. Technology that enables us to do certain work on the go saves us time and hassle and hugely improves productivity within AP (and of course other industries too). AP professionals have the heightened ability to manage their invoices with greater ease and speed just with a mobile device.

 

E-invoicing

Cutting back on postal invoices has long been a goal of many accounts payable departments but with such vastly improved specialist AP software and people on their emails almost constantly, printing and postage costs could be drastically decreased. Okay, perhaps e-invoicing will not completely take over postage during 2019 but with each passing year, the percentage split between e-invoices and postal invoices will move more in favour of the former until it becomes the main way of sending and receiving invoices. Obviously with this method, the footprint on the environment is positively impacted and most companies want to do their bit for the world. Reducing environmental footprints, dropping costs and improving efficiency? Winning all-round! Moving to e-invoicing also means moving towards automated AP processes…

 

Increased automation

Automation in accounts payable is bringing in a new era to the industry. With the extended use of automated processes, companies are not only going to be able to save on productivity and overall cost of staff, but on a number of other expenses too. As we have mentioned in previous posts, members of staff from some companies are worried about how this will affect their jobs and their career stability in general. Have they chosen the right career? Well, AP as a career is certainly never going to be the wrong choice and we are going to be focusing on careers within AP during 2019, so if the increase in the use of automation, the advancements in AI and with the use of robotics in businesses making huge strides, if you have ever had a sleepless night because of your job prospects, be sure to keep an eye on Accounts Payable Association’s blogs, podcasts, events and LinkedIn forum to see how the AP industry is actually a clever choice.

 

As you have probably deduced by now, the potential changes are mostly relating to technology. Accounts payable processes and procedures have become more streamlined thanks to improved technology and this goes a very long way to improve productivity, increase staff job satisfaction and generally help businesses grow.