Spend management innovation creating equity value

Note from the editor

Few big companies today still use a manual spend management system to process their accounts payable and other back-office functions but the technology has been through so much innovation in recent years that what constitutes a state of the art system today is very different from what it was just a few years ago. 

For smaller and mid-sized companies that are still managing paper invoices, the amount of money they’re losing by not automating can be significant maybe as much as $20 an invoice, according to specialists in a CFO.com webinar. 

But AP and other spend management automation has never been just about saving money; it’s about attracting talented staff in a tough labor market, reducing compliance problems and scaling integral back-office operations in a way that can create equity value. 

“Resources [like AP automation] almost always pay for themselves, so focus on surrounding yourself with the quantity and quality that is going to allow your finance organization to really help drive the business,” says Beth Clymer, CFO of employment-resource platform Jobcase.

The tight labor market makes the case for automation even more urgent, because few young accounting specialists have an interest in working in an organization that still uses manual processes for functions for which an automated alternative is available.

“The new generation has a totally different mindset,” says Jess Scheer, executive editor at the Institute of Finance & Management. “Not a lot of people say they want to sign up for manual tasks. But if you give those people a higher-level task it will be more attractive.”

We hope this selection of pieces from CFO Dive will help you get a picture of the latest thinking on the impact the technology can have on the accounting function.

Robert Freedman Editor

Automation called key to improved AP compliance

The less opportunity for human intervention, the better a company’s accounts payable processing will align with internal fraud-prevention guidelines.

• Published Oct. 11, 2021

How Lush ditched manual invoicing for automated accounts payable

Before 2017, the skincare company printed hundreds of thousands of supplier invoices annually. Now 92% of invoices are touchless.

• Published Oct. 11, 2021

Airbase raises $60M, aims for larger clients

• Published June 9, 2021

Automation can turn AP into profit center, attract millennials

Finance chiefs are saving accounts payable costs by earning early-payment discounts, issuing fewer paper checks, catching fraud and reducing duplicate payments and other mistakes.

• Published Oct. 11, 2021

Manual AP systems cost companies up to $20 per invoice to process

• Published Oct. 11, 2021

Spend management, other back-office investment as equity value drivers

Jobcase CFO Beth Clymer doesn’t let the desire to hold down costs trump the scaling that flows from high-functioning accounting and planning teams.

• Published Oct. 11, 2021

How spend automation is creating equity value

Companies are implementing spend automation to attract talented staff, reduce compliance problems and scale integral back-office operations. The less opportunity for human intervention, the better a company’s accounts payable processing will align with internal fraud-prevention guidelines.

included in this trendline
  • How Lush ditched manual invoicing for automated accounts payable
  • Airbase raises $60M, aims for larger clients
  • Automation can turn AP into profit center, attract millennials
Our Trendlines go deep on the biggest trends. These special reports, produced by our team of award-winning journalists, help business leaders understand how their industries are changing.
Davide Savenije Editor-in-Chief at Industry Dive.