Transforming cumbersome manual processes into seamless digital ones is at the heart of numerous drives to improve business efficiency. At a stroke, digitisation can reduce accidents and errors, free up human resource to focus on more complex or strategic tasks, speed up essential operations and create more unification and consolidation amongst back office processes. Little wonder, then, that digital transformation is a key goal of many organisations.
Nevertheless, such transformation takes time, and requires both financial and human resource investment. As a result, many businesses continue to operate with substantial paper-based processes, not least in purchase to pay (P2P).
However when it comes to P2P failing to adapt doesn’t come without risk. In 2012, Oracle and PwC revealed that financial reporting, cash and treasury, corporate accounting and order fulfilment were all amongst the top ten business processes most vulnerable to fraud, waste and errors. When invoice payments or employee expenses requests are reviewed via a series of manual approvals, for example, there are countless opportunities for basic human error – or more malicious activity intended to commit fraud.
Then there’s the simple operational efficiency impact to consider. The more time accounts staff need to devote to managing the purchase to pay process manually, the less time they have to dedicate to more strategic financial management. In an increasingly competitive business landscape – and one in which talented staff will soon move elsewhere if their work appears mundane – such a strategy cannot be for the long-term.
So, what are the options for businesses looking to apply digital transformation to P2P? They include:
A report by Paystream Advisors has suggested that around one in three organisations currently use an e-procurement solution, suggesting that while the shift to digital transformation of the P2P processes is well underway, there is still plenty of space for organisations to get ahead of the curve.
Digital transformation is the route to improved business efficiency, reduced costs and enhanced creativity and innovation across a wide range of processes and departments, and P2P is no different. Look out for the next blog in our digital transformation series, which will hone in on the situation in the Nordics.