AP invoicing payments
Accounts Payable

Tackling AP Automation’s 'Chicken-And-Egg' Problem

Shifting away from paper-based accounts payable (AP) practices could be a game-changer for many organizations.

AP professionals must first be willing to take the first step to embrace automation, but some firms are wavering over whether they are prepared to do so.

Many AP professionals who are holding out on investing in automation are unsure of what kind of return on investment (ROI) these services can offer. The new Next-Gen AP Automation Tracker highlights the latest AP solutions that are helping firms to realize the opportunities that automation can provide, including cost savings on invoice processing, rebate opportunities and greater insights into their cash flows.


Around The Next-Gen AP Automation World

More efficient access to data and analytics is among the potential benefits that automation promises. Several companies recently launched new solutions that utilize artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to quickly and seamlessly capture data and expedite invoice processing.

Bottomline Technologies, for one, recently released an AI-powered solution designed to help North American businesses. The company recently partnered with Drift, a provider of conversational marketing platform tools, to enable chat capabilities through Bottomline’s Paymode-X and PTX solutions. By providing the chat feature, Bottomline customers can enroll in new payment services, including virtual cards and automated clearing house (ACH), while receiving support off-hours.

Another AI-powered solution was recently launched by Medius, a provider of cloud-based AP solutions. The company added new data capture services to its MediusFlow AP invoice automation solution, which automatically reviews records and applies settings. The new services aim to help firms rely less on manual data input and help AP departments realize cost-savings opportunities.

AP solutions firm Aavenir introduced its own AI-powered solution, which uses AI to automatically capture and validate invoice data and collect it in a central digital platform. The solutions are designed to help businesses by providing a greater understanding of their transaction activities, improve the rate of on-time payments and help firms to improve their relationships with their suppliers.

Delivering Efficiencies To The Logistics Market

Reliable and trustworthy relationships are essential for businesses in the logistics market, which must deliver goods and products to recipients as quickly and efficiently as possible. New automated AP solutions promise to deliver several benefits for logistics providers, such as cost savings and more seamless access to data. However, some logistics firms are not prepared to make the switch to digital payments and AP processes. In the Tracker’s Feature Story, Rich Wessels, treasurer for transportation management and logistics firm Transplace explains the “chicken-and-egg” dilemma that logistics firms face when considering the potential benefits of AP automation.

Deep Dive: AP Automation’s ROI Potential

Manual and paper-based products still persist in business-to-business (B2B) payment practices. PYMNTS research has found that 72.4 percent of AP professionals receive their invoices through postal services, while 43.8 percent receive them via fax machines. In terms of payments, a whopping 80.8 percent still use paper checks to pay invoices. There are signs, however, that AP organizations are ready to embrace change. The Tracker’s Deep Dive highlights the potential ROI for AP organizations and how these tools could prove useful when recruiting millennial candidates.

About The Tracker

The Next-Gen AP Automation Tracker, a PYMNTS and Bottomline Technologies collaboration, is a monthly report that highlights the most recent accounts payable developments and automated solutions disrupting how businesses process invoices, track spending and earn rebates on transactions.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.