Analysts cite an array of reasons why buyers and suppliers are sometimes slow to adopt e-payment solutions. Among these reasons is the challenge posed by the fact that even if a supplier is willing to accept an electronic invoice, for example, a buyer may not have the capabilities, and vice versa.
But according to new research, most corporate accountants want digital payments instead of paper-based ones. A new study sponsored by Bill.com found that more than half of accounting professionals are in favor of switching to paperless payments, and 41 percent said they would support a switch to cloud-based payment systems in the next six months.
Among one of the strongest reasons for this trend, the research showed, is the ability to syncopate and automate payment transactions with accounting software. Similarly high numbers agreed that cloud-based payment solutions allow for more efficient document management, automated payment approval and online bill pay. More than 80 percent further agreed that companies should support mobile bill payments.
“As an individual, it’s exceedingly easy to pay your bills without paper,” said Bill.com CEO and Founder René Lacerte. “One click of a button and your payment is complete, and receipts are sent and reconciled automatically. This survey shows that accountants and bookkeepers are ready to experience that same level of bill payment convenience and simplicity for their business clients.”
The research results were detailed in a report by CPA Practice Advisor on Wednesday (July 29).
There is a wide gap between wanting these solutions and adopting them, however. The study found that nearly three quarters of survey respondents still use paper-based payment methods like paper checks and invoices when dealing with accounts payable. About 45 percent said that this raises security and fraud concerns.
Analysts found that accountants recognize the link between paper-based payment systems and fraud, with 30 percent of respondents reporting that they have had a corporate client fall victim to a fraud-related attack due to the bill pay process.
“Competition continues to grow for accounting and bookkeeping firms, and as a result, practitioners realize the importance of embracing the cloud in order to introduce new services such as bill pay and improve the client experience,” said CPA Practice Advisor Editor-in-Chief Gail Perry. “However, as is common in this industry, it will take time and patience to get all clients on board.”