Automating AP Operations a Boon for Online Marketplaces

online shopping

The pandemic gave a tailwind to online marketplaces, but the boom has legs and signals a sea change in the ways and means by which sellers and buyers find one another, interact and above all, transact.

For the marketplaces themselves, the surge in transactions has been one that carries some operational considerations. In particular, 98% of marketplace executives say their volume of accounts payable (AP) will continue to increase over the next three years. That growth can present a challenge for making sure that payments wind up in the hands of appropriate parties.

In the report “Accounts Payable Automation: Online Marketplaces and the Challenge with High Volume Payouts,” a joint effort between PYMNTS and Routable, more than 200 executives from small, mid-sized and large firms that generate annual sales of less than $1 million to more than $250 million weighed in on those challenges — and opportunities.

There’s widespread recognition that advanced technologies can help speed and streamline those payments. Seventy-nine percent of online marketplace executives expect innovation hasten the processing of payables.

chart, marketplace AP challenges

And 94% of respondents said that making innovations to their AP platforms is more important than other innovations.

As for the avenues of attack that should be in the crosshairs for improving AP functionalities, Two thirds of respondents said that certain issues most be addressed to increase monthly AP “capacity.”  As seen in the graphic below, two thirds of respondents state that a key challenge lies with inefficient communication between platforms and their service providers or vendors, which can in turn be improved by automation.  As many as 70% of those surveyed noted that there are insufficient payment options in the mix.

chart, AP automation

Download Routable Accounts Payable Automation report