What’s Blocking the Shift to Automated AP Invoice Processes in the Financial Services, Insurance, and Real Estate Industries?

Accounts payable problems can seem like they don’t amount to a hill of beans, especially as company leadership grapples with industry challenges.

In banking and financial services, those hurdles center on regulation, flattening assets management growth, legacy technology systems, and competition.

In insurance, disruption continues to reshape the marketplace. Meanwhile, companies face the twin pressures of increasing profitability and meeting high customer expectations.

And in real estate, residential and commercial firms must navigate terrain that’s being constantly reshaped by changing demographics, the rise of smart cities, and technology advancements, like robotics.

Why bother with accounts payable problems when you’ve got dragons to slay?

Because AP invoice automation can help you defeat them.

When you look deeper into those challenges, some common themes emerge:


  • Compliance. Every business has to deal with some amount of regulation.
  • Disruption. Technology has completely upended the way FIRE industries operate.
  • Mobility. More and more business happens outside the office. Employees now expect to be able to work just as easily on the road as they do at their desks.
  • Fraud. Most is minor – the dinner that’s not quite a business dinner, an unapproved upgrade to first class, or a claim for a cab ride that never happened.


Businesses that can meet these challenges will be better equipped to adapt their business models, streamline operations, and innovate.

It turns out that automating your AP vendor invoice processes helps. A lot. Because if compliance becomes second nature, if your technology scales easily, if you become more efficient, then you free up capital for investment and you free your people to stop doing tedious manual tasks and start innovating.

So why isn’t automation a no-brainer? Several factors conspire against adoption, but chief among them is the simple fact that it always takes time for conventional wisdom to catch up to reality.


General fear of change. People can be reluctant to transition to new ways of thinking and working when they’ve developed expertise around existing processes. And it can be hard to build a business case for a system change, especially if the business is succeeding. However, research from IDC shows that companies see a 505% ROI after implementing automated invoicing. Plus, morale increases when employees are freed from burdensome manual tasks.


Presumed lack of IT expertise. You don’t need to hire IT staff or develop technology capabilities. Providers will deliver the IT support you need. Additionally, moving to cloud-based invoice automation can actually save IT teams time post-implementation. The IDC research found that organizations require 29% less IT staff time to administer Concur Invoice compared with their previous non-cloud-based invoice management solutions.


Fear of job loss. This is often the elephant in the room. But what really tends to happen after automation is that AP staff become more important than before because they’re freed to do strategic work, making them a more valuable asset to the company. In fact, automation helps accounting/finance employees reduce invoice processing time by 16%, according to AMI-Partners research.


Security. Because of online threats, business leaders may feel that manual invoicing is a more secure option than digitization. However, with a framework of audited processes and controls that protect your information from unauthorized access automation is without question the more secure option.


Ultimately, the risks around invoice automation are more perceived than real. To find out more about the benefits of changing your invoicing system, download the study: How Finance Leaders Save Money and Drive Growth with Automated Invoicing.

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