Tihilä added: “Automation of manual processes is critical, particularly as financial systems become increasingly interdependent and reliant on information from other parts of the business. Businesses are recognizing the tangible value automation can bring to an organization, even beyond the more obvious ways to yield cash through extending supplier payment agreements and reducing customer payment terms.
“The increased interdependence of financial systems means no element of the financial process can be seen in isolation of others, as a change at one end of the financial spectrum will almost certainly impact the other. The key is for finance executives to have a clear visibility of cash flowing within the business and an overall awareness of how these networks interlink so any changes that are applied do not have a detrimental impact.”
Peter Smith, editor & co-managing director, Spend Matters UK /Europe, noted: “Spend Matters sees a trend for procurement and finance functions and executives to work more closely together, and this report supports that idea.
It’s important for senior procurement executives, therefore, to understand what is driving their finance colleagues, and the Basware survey provides a good handle on that.
“It’s interesting to note that senior finance staff are becoming more concerned about cash flow and the visibility of commitments, payments and other key cash-related issues, and the focus on cost savings from suppliers is actually declining, in finance’s eyes at least. That all has implications for procurement strategies and approaches, and also suggests that organizations need to look at a more integrated approach across the whole purchase-to-pay cycle,” Smith added.
“The survey suggests that organizations are looking at Accounts Payable with higher priority rather than merely considering it as an administrative task.
The wider issues in this area around control, visibility, cash management and supply chain finance seem to be increasingly understood. That in turn suggests that automation and better management of the invoicing process is going to become a bigger issue,” Smith concluded.
For a full copy of the 2011 Cost of Control Fuzzy Finance report please visit: http://www.basware.com/resources/a-cost-of-control-report-2011-fuzzy-finance.