Study Highlights Inefficiencies with Accounts Payable Process


Palo Alto, CA
— Tipalti, provider of the leading global payments automation platform, has released findings from a survey of finance, accounting and business executives that identifies subpar levels of satisfaction with the current state of accounts payable processes. The study “Strategies for Managing Supplier Payments,” conducted by market research firm Gatepoint Research and sponsored by Tipalti, found that 51% of participants were dissatisfied with the accounts payable process they use to pay their suppliers. According to the findings of the study, more than 70% of these respondents also spend five or more hours a week managing supplier payment operations.

The survey also exposed potential concerns with the systems and accounts payable processes currently in place to mitigate regulatory, compliance, and fraud related payment risks. For example, payment regulatory compliance is an issue, with 66% of respondents admitting that they did not have or were unsure if their company screens payees in accordance with the US Patriot Act. This includes screening for anti-terrorism, money-laundering and drug trafficking requirements established by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Concurrent with these findings, the survey also found that 58% of the respondents report low to medium satisfaction with the fraud monitoring applications they currently have as part of their AP process.

Additional findings from the “Strategies for Managing Supplier Payments” survey include:

  • 82% of respondents execute over 100 payments a month with 76% making international payments to suppliers.
  • On average, accounts payable departments only use three payment method options.  Wire transfer is the payment of choice for almost all the companies surveyed, with 95% percent usage by respondents.  Paper checks (88%) and Automated Clearing House (ACH) are popular as well, while 32% of the companies use electronic checks/international ACH.
  • 51% of respondents report that they could improve the way they manage their payment fees.
  • 37% of survey participants already had a payments automation system in place while another 37% have plans for, or would consider, a payments automation system.
  • Companies with a payments automation system in place showed significantly higher levels of satisfaction across every area of the payment management operation.

“As companies grow and expand internationally, their finance organizations are coming under increased stress as they try to keep up with ever-increasing volumes of payments to their suppliers and partners across the globe.” said Chen Amit, CEO and co-founder of Tipalti.  “CFOs of fast-growing companies will need to make a critical choice as they continue to scale their organizations.  Do they choose to add more finance and IT staff to keep up with the constantly increasing volume and complexity of global payments or do they choose to streamline the supplier payments process so they can focus on global growth?”

The “Strategies for Managing Supplier Payments” survey, conducted by Gatepoint Research on Tipalti’s behalf earlier this year, polled (via email) 100 senior finance decision makers and executives.  Participants represented US companies in the retail, business services, technology and media sectors with annual revenues between $5 and $250 million.

The complete Gatepoint Research study can be accessed here.

Update: Gatepoint Research conducted a live web presentation of the report on Tuesday, April 28, 2015. To view the recording, click here.

Sweet success” by michael kooiman – originally posted to Flickr as sweet success. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.