This post is part ofG2's 2024 technology trendsseries. Read more about G2’s perspective on digital transformation trends in anintroductionfrom Chris Voce, VP, market research, and additional coverage on trends identified by G2’s analysts.
End-to-end AP process automation will improve efficiencies
In 2024, accounts payable (AP) software providers will prioritize automating the entire AP process for their customers, from receiving and capturing invoice data to approving and authorizing payments to vendors.
This end-to-end automation will help minimize human errors, reduce the chance of fraud, and improve overall relations between buyers and sellers of goods and services.
The importance of AP process automation
The AP process usually consists of four main steps—capturing invoice data, approving invoices, approving payments, and making payments.
Each step is crucial and depends on the accuracy and consistency of the step before it to ensure vendors are paid on time, and positive relationships are maintained.
However, as an invoice is passed from one step to the next and the number of humans involved in the process increases, errors or delays can occur. Some roadblocks include inaccurate invoice data entered into the accounting system, not knowing who should review and approve invoices, and not recognizing duplicate invoices that result in duplicate payments.
Luckily, there is already a plethora of software to help automate some of these tasks, resulting in a more seamless process with fewer inconsistencies and mistakes.
One of the main deterrents to fully automating this process is the challenge of successfully integrating other systems (ERP, accounting, etc.) into AP automation software, which leads to accurate and quality data.
Based on recent G2 data and market trends, I believe that not only will the popularity of these AP automation features continue to increase, but we’ll see more platforms automate the entire end-to-end AP process.
G2’s AP automation software feature questions data back the trend
G2 feature questions are category-specific questions that allow reviewers to rate different product features from 1-7. This information gives buyers and sellers a wealth of information about the features of products in a specific category, which features are most important, and how well those features satisfy users' needs.
The AP Automation category has 25 different feature questions, covering everything from analytics to integrations, as well as several questions about automating the AP workflow.
Through August 2023 alone, there were over 16,400 responses to all feature questions, compiled from over 650 authentic user reviews. Four of the top five most answered questions were about features that help automate the AP approval process. These features are listed below:
Workflows which include workflows for reviewing and approving invoices
Payments to helpidentify incomplete or late payments
Capture to capture and extract invoice data
Due dates to track the priority of invoices based on due dates
This leads me to believe that users would benefit from software that automates all steps involved in the AP processes but, most importantly, extracting accurate data from invoices. If this data is incorrect, the subsequent steps in the workflow will cause inaccuracies and errors, delaying the payment to vendors and creating more work for all parties involved.
The graph below further highlights the increasing responses to automation feature questions in 2023 and their correlation to new reviews.
According to G2 data and the chart above, the average number of user responses to these four questions increased by over 500% between January and August 2023, while the percentage of reviewers answering these questions also increased.
While only 23% of new reviewers answered these questions in January, by August, 69% of respondents rated these automation features.
Giving the customers what they want
The figures above prove that automation within AP is important to users, and those features are being utilized more and more. Hence, it makes sense for vendors to focus on automation to stay competitive in their industry and offer a product their customers want and need.
In 2024, we will see an influx of AP software products offering full end-to-end automation for the AP process, giving customers the features that they have deemed most important.
Nathan is a Senior Research Analyst at G2 focusing on finance and accounting software and their respective markets. Coming from the world of finance, Nathan understands and is familiar with the importance of finance/accounting software, and the complexities, struggles, and nuances that come with them. He has over 15 years of analytical experience in industries ranging from health care and transportation logistics to food service and software. Nathan received his MBA in finance and international business administration from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and his B.S. in production and operations management from California State University, Chico.
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2024 Trends: End-to-End Automation for AP Processes2024 will be the year of full end-to-end automation for AP software, providing customers with the features most important to them to streamline their AP process.https://research.g2.com/insights/ap-automation-trends-2024https://learn.g2.com/hubfs/G2CM_C04_Digital_Trends_2024_18_Nathan_Calabrese_Accounting-&-Finance_F1.png2023-10-11 10:06:14Z
Nathan CalabreseNathan is a Senior Research Analyst at G2 focusing on finance and accounting software and their respective markets. Coming from the world of finance, Nathan understands and is familiar with the importance of finance/accounting software, and the complexities, struggles, and nuances that come with them. He has over 15 years of analytical experience in industries ranging from health care and transportation logistics to food service and software. Nathan received his MBA in finance and international business administration from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and his B.S. in production and operations management from California State University, Chico.https://research.g2.com/insights/author/nathan-calabresehttps://learn.g2.com/hubfs/nathan-calabreseupdated.jpeg