81% of Firms Still Use Paper Checks to Pay Other Businesses at Least Occasionally

digitizing payments in accounts receivable. AR automation and AR digitization

Although complications can arise from businesses’ continued reliance on paper-based payments, 81% of firms still use paper checks to pay other businesses at least occasionally, according to The Treasurer’s Guide To AR Payment Optimization, a PYMNTS and CheckAlt collaboration.

Get the report: The Treasurer’s Guide To AR Payment Optimization

While it is not feasible for many businesses to forgo check use entirely, paper payments and the manual data entry that often accompanies them can cause errors and delays that damage supplier relationships.

There is a potential solution in the form of payables automation, however. Reducing the potential for human error and tardiness via automation can significantly improve businesses’ bottom lines even as they continue to process paper-based payments.

Together with tackling this challenge, businesses also are examining ways to make their B2B payments more cost-effective, and are finding that automation can dramatically reduce the amount of money it takes to process invoices.

“Removing manual, human-centered tasks not only optimizes the B2B payment process for an organization, reducing cost, risk and employee head count, but it also opens up new value-add opportunities around negotiated payments and leveraging early or late payment fees,” Scrypt CEO Andy Vidan told PYMNTS.

Automation can take various forms, but one of the most promising is intelligent document processing (IDP). Invoices can arrive in a dizzying array of formats and files, and the time and energy spent assessing and processing these documents can create significant delays in businesses’ payables departments. IDP systems leverage artificial intelligence (AI)-aided optical character recognition programs to extract and process data regardless of format. These IDP programs can automate every step of the payables process, saving human accountants untold hours and supercharging their productivity.

Businesses that invest in this technology could, in turn, see significant revenue growth as they reduce payment errors and speed up payment times, making IDP and other invoice automation procedures a top priority in the future.