61% of CFOs Say the Pandemic Helped Their Firms Digitize Internal Processes

Most companies are digitizing their accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) systems if they have not already done so, PYMNTS research finds.

The reason chief financial officers (CFOs) most often cite for wanting to digitize their AR and AP workflows is their desire to benefit customers and vendors. In fact, that’s the reason cited by more than 90% of CFOs in three key vertical markets: real estate, wholesale trade and industrial/manufacturing, according to The Strategic Role Of The CFO, a PYMNTS and Versapay collaboration that draws from a survey of 400 CFOs.

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CFOs across these industries also cite three other key reasons for wanting to digitize their AR and AP workflows: automation of manual processes, increased transparency, and improved efficiency for customers and suppliers.

While the push to digitize payments has been underway for years as companies have sought to make their payments operations faster and more efficient, the digitization projects have taken on a new urgency as companies have contended with a host of disruptions to their everyday operations during the pandemic.

The ongoing pandemic has created the need for AR and AP digitization because it delayed payments (a negative impact cited by 70% of CFOs), made optimizing costs more difficult (69%) and increased days sales outstanding (61%).

CFOs say some other effects of the pandemic are that it has had a positive impact on internally incorporating digitization (a positive impact cited by 61% of CFOs), their ability to handle customer payments (55%), payment acceptance costs (52%) and their ability to handle supplier payments (52%).

The economic impact of the pandemic is far from over, but many businesses have benefited from actions they have taken in response to the crisis.