In a survey of accounts payable professionals released last week, analysts found that suppliers often struggle to gain insight into whether or not their invoices have been paid.
According to InvoiceInfo‘s third annual Accounts Payable Customer Service Survey, published Friday (June 15), the most common question received by AP professionals from vendor partners is, “Has my invoice been paid?”
“When will my invoice be paid?” is also a common question, the survey found, noting that these two questions surpassed other inquiries from suppliers by a “very significant margin.”
Researchers surveyed more than 150 businesses about their accounts payable practices and policies. The data reveals insight into the buyer-supplier relationship and how companies manage their vendors.
Nearly half said their businesses require a response to a vendor question within one day; 29 percent are required to respond within two days. Analysts noted that some companies handle thousands of inquiries every month, meaning accounts payable professionals spend a significant amount of time answering these questions.
InvoiceInfo noted that, because of the time it takes to answer these questions, it is surprising that only a quarter of survey respondents said they have a vendor self-service portal, which enables vendors to seek out answers to their questions independently.
Still, reports noted, the percentage of respondents with a vendor self-service portal is up 7.5 percent from last year.
InvoiceInfo’s survey found additional areas for improvement in the accounts payable department and in businesses’ management of supplier relations.
For instance, less than a quarter said they have implemented a platform that enables them to track how automation has reduced the number of vendor inquiries — a decline from 38 percent last year, the report noted. Further, half of the companies that are operating without such a portal said they have no plans to implement one.