Xero: AP Automation Makes Big Difference for Small Businesses to Fight Fraud, Unlock Efficiencies

AP Automation January 2022 - Discover how AP automation can help businesses curb fraud and trim processing and labor costs

AP automation can help SMBs weather the digital transformation and stay competitive by helping to reduce payments fraud and trim costs.

Manual invoices continue to be a pain point for many businesses. They tend to be costly, inefficient and prone to human error, and the pandemic has only exacerbated many of these issues. Organizations that previously compensated for the shortcomings of their manual systems are now working fast to automate their accounting systems as many offices remain closed.53%: Share of businesses that say they have been cutting fewer checks since digitizing their payments operations

The benefits of automated accounts payable (AP) go beyond simply accelerating payments, however. Businesses have come to realize that their back-office automation can lead to real gains in long-term growth, enabling them to reduce friction, trim operating costs, mitigate supply chain issues and better retain clients and customers.

The inaugural “AP Automation Tracker®,” a PYMNTS and Beanworks collaboration, examines how companies’ AP processes have changed in recent years and why organizations must consider automating their payment processes to stay competitive in the emerging digital marketplace.

Around the AP Automation Space

Many businesses kicked their AP automation plans into high gear as pandemic-related shutdowns and restrictions swept the globe and forced them to dramatically alter their operations. Digital payment processing has allowed companies to minimize disruption as they continue their operations, but it has also enabled them to battle the uptick in fraud since the health crisis began, Catherine Dahl, CEO of AP automation firm Beanworks, told PYMNTS during a recent interview.

96%: Portion of CFOs who feel that AP and AR optimization is "very" or "extremely" important to maintaining healthy balance sheetsShe explained that Beanworks uses artificial intelligence (AI) to speed invoice processes and that advanced AP automation can help firms tamp down on fraud by eliminating duplicate invoices. AP automation’s fraud-reducing benefits have been particularly handy in recent months, according to a recent survey showing that fraudsters are increasingly targeting businesses that use paper check-based payment processes.

Approximately three-quarters of the businesses leaders polled said that their companies had been targeted by payment fraud attacks, and 66% pointed to paper checks as the primary target in these schemes. This trend underscores why it is important for businesses to automate their invoicing and payables, as doing so can help them incorporate document encryption methods and transmit payment details without requiring human interventions.

For more on these and other AP automation headlines, read the Tracker’s News and Trends section.

Xero on How AP Automation Can Help SMBs Stay in the Game With Larger Competitors

Small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can struggle to compete with their larger counterparts, in part because their resources tend to be more limited and many continue to rely on manual accounting processes. AP automation technology, however, has the potential to even the playing field and give SMBs access to cost-saving features.

In this month’s Feature Story, Ben Richmond, country manager of the United States at cloud-based accounting software platform Xero, discusses how SMBs can benefit from adopting AP automation tools.61%: Share of CFOs who expect digitization to improve their AP/AR processes' transparency

Deep Dive: How Businesses Can Harness AP Automation to Trim Costs and Reduce Fraud

The pandemic has spotlighted digital transformation, and payment automation, in particular, has helped businesses adapt to remote work. Automation has allowed companies to minimize supply chain disruptions, curb fraud and reduce friction, but many smaller businesses still lag behind larger ones in implementing this technology and reaping its numerous benefits.

This month’s Deep Dive examines the savings and fraud-reduction benefits that all businesses can receive by switching to AP automation and why smaller businesses would be especially wise to make the shift.

About The Tracker

The “AP Automation Tracker®,” a PYMNTS and Beanworks collaboration, examines the latest developments in accounts payable automation around the globe.