Independent research commissioned by Accounts Payable automation and Purchase-to-Payment provider, Yooz, has shown that 97 per cent of UK organisations operate remote or hybrid working practices.
Yet nearly half of UK finance leaders (48 per cent) say that remote and hybrid working has significantly impacted their ability to process invoices on time; according to the third annual State of Automation in Finance report by Yooz.
At a tactical level, this presents challenges for finance departments with confidentiality, data security, supervision and training. Overall, finance leaders are adapting to a new way of working and the shift towards remote/ hybrid working practice is here to stay, perhaps with only a few exceptions.
Flexible working (49 per cent) and remote working (38 per cent) emerged as the top two measures finance decision makers use to attract and retain staff, far above higher salary bands which is in fourth place at 21 per cent behind offering access to improved or more efficient technology (23 per cent).
Laurent Charpentier, CEO of Yooz, said, “We have experienced the biggest shift in the working practices for decades and we shouldn’t underestimate the impact it will have on businesses. Making sure remote workers have access to the latest information is vital if finance departments are going to operate in a hybrid-working world.”
Time is money and the research goes on to reveal that over a third of finance decision makers (34 per cent) reported that their Account Payable department spends, on average, more than 20 hours a month on invoice processing: the equivalent of spending almost three working days a month on managing invoices.
Modern finance leaders now recognise automation as a key tool for helping them manage and streamline the diverse demands of their roles. The top three advantages of AP automation for finance leaders are: increased productivity (36 per cent); improved data accuracy (35 per cent); and the ability to use people more flexibly (25 per cent).
Charpentier concludes: “While organisations seem to be recognising that they can leverage technology to change the way they work, just a quarter of finance leaders see accounts payable automation as a way to use their workforce more flexibly and to help people acquire new skills.
“Given the skills shortage in finance/ accounting and challenges with talent acquisition, using cutting edge accounts payable software to support a new way of working should be viewed as an opportunity to persuade the other business leaders of the benefits that accounts payable automation can deliver.”