Managing accounts payable functions can be costly, time-consuming and potentially fine-inducing processes.
For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), many of which still have manual systems in place, AP failures are costing them more than just money, according to a recent Basware study.
"The SMB Finance findings suggest this resource drain is down to inefficient financial processes and manual systems that are preventing small businesses from transacting successfully with suppliers and buyers, issues that need to be addressed if growth and health cash flow is to be achieved," said John Webster, vice president of global product marketing at Basware.
The report found that on average, SMB workers spend an additional 17 hours per month conducting financial activities that are unrelated to their jobs. To make matters worse, many of these companies still have invoicing systems that require manual processes, which lead to additional problems. A separate survey by OB10 further highlighted the drawbacks of manual invoicing, finding that it leads to late payments, higher operating costs and angry clients.
Digitizing AP functions
For SMBs, many of which can't afford to take on additional costs, the benefits of electronic invoicing processes could be enormous. Webster said that automating financial functions would eliminate manual errors and improve operational efficiency, which in turn could "establish a platform for growth which stems from effective finance."
Sage North America recently launched a new product that can make managing finances a whole lot easier for SMBs.
"Integrated payroll processing is an important component of Sage 300 ERP. With the new cloud connected services, businesses can further reduce their cost of managing payroll by allowing employees to view pay history online," said Erik Kaas, vice president of product management for Sage 300 ERP.
In particular, the product would dramatically improve companies' payroll processes by:
- Integrating different solutions into the system.
- Increasing the number of employees who have access to this information.
- Enhancing the ease of use.
The Basware report found that manual invoicing accounted for nearly 20 percent of wasted time spent managing finances – something that Sage 300 ERP would dramatically reduce.
Kaas also pointed to features like eFiling, which not only enables SMBs to manage W2s and 1099s easier, but allows them to "go green by eliminating the need to print and mail forms" as well. And because the system is based in the cloud, business owners and employees will have access to the applications remotely.