How a business begins a relationship with a supplier can determine how lasting — and profitable — that bond becomes. Employing accounts payable (AP) automation solutions can help smooth onboarding and streamline the data collection and analyzing processes, removing the many friction points that are prone to legacy systems. AP automation also ensures payments to suppliers are made on-time, which goes a long way toward keeping relationships profitable for both parties.
In the March Next-Gen AP Automation Tracker, PYMNTS highlights how providers are collaborating or merging to offer new solutions to improve onboarding and other AP-related processes, while others are developing or rolling out their own offerings.
Technology giant IBM plans to launch a blockchain-based contractor management solution called IBM Contingent Labor later this year, according to a press release. The solution, intended to reduce vendor onboarding costs, was created in conjunction with blockchain consulting firm IT People and is powered by Hyperledger Fabric technology. It will automatically track contractor onboarding, purchase orders and timesheets as well as eliminate blocked invoices and guarantee on-time invoice payments. IBM said the solution would enable vendors to upload invoices and purchase orders while allowing users to generate supplier invoices based on approved blockchain-stored timesheets.
Quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain Shake Shack is also embracing automated solutions. The fast-growing New York-based QSR recently adopted procure-to-pay software that integrates purchasing and AP for greater transparency into its procurement operations. Shake Shack is implementing this and other supplier management products as part of a $3.5 million back-of-house digital transformation to reduce manual efforts, optimize inventory orders and realize cost savings.
Recent reports suggest that small- to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) such as Shake Shack are wise to adopt back-end AP automation. SMBs are often hit hard by manual processes, and a recent report reveals that automated AP solutions could reduce their costs and improve their bottom lines. The report found that 86 percent of SMBs manually entered accounting data and that potential operational disruptions could deter many from adopting digital alternatives. Automated services could cut an average of 40 days from their invoice processing time.
For more on these stories and other recent next-gen AP automation developments, read the Tracker’s News & Trends section.
Sage Intacct Takes AP Automation To The Cloud
Chief financial officers are pushing for a switch to low-cost, scalable, cloud-based software solutions, and that is driving annual gross sales for the financial accounting software market above $19 billion. Many providers are developing products that cater to these demands. In this month’s Feature Story, Dan Miller, senior vice president of product management at Sage Intacct, explains how the company is meeting businesses’ needs with solutions intended to help remove vendor onboarding frictions and strengthen supplier relationships.
AP Automation Powers Vendor Relationships
Finding and onboarding the right supplier partners can be a slow process involving in-depth research and cost-benefit analysis. These procedures require insight and data analysis that can be difficult — if not impossible — to achieve through manual methods alone, leading some companies to leverage automated AP and artificial intelligence-powered solutions. This month’s Deep Dive examines how AP system automation can improve company-vendor bonds and make sure partners are paid on time.
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.