Aberdeen Research Update - Reap the Benefits of Invoice Excellence with AP Automation – Nebula

In a recent report the Aberdeen group looks at how top Accounts Payable (AP) solutions open lines of communication with superiority, while providing fast, accurate and easily accessible information, highlighting how process efficiencies and cost savings are strengthened with automated AP solutions.

Within Aberdeen Group’s 2015 AP/AR Benchmark Survey, the need to better manage a growing volume of transactions was highlighted, with 42% of all respondents identifying this as a top concern (see Figure 1).

Laying the path to increased AP efficiency

Integration of payables (50% of all Leaders), and an increased investment in invoice receipt and workflow processes (46% of all Leaders) were the top two strategies employed by top performers (see Figure 2).

AP operational capabilities define Leaders and Followers

There are several clear-cut capabilities that Leaders maximise to improve their efficiency and productivity. For example, Leaders are 147% more likely to employ solutions with the capability to extract data from printed/typed documents (see Figure 3).

Transition towards excellence with superior transaction management

The ability to match invoices to purchase orders (POs) acts as a check-and-balance for ensuring that billing for services is accurate. Leaders are 19% more likely to have this capability. With automation, once the invoice and PO are confirmed accurate, the payment can go out as scheduled, or the manager approval alert will be triggered if necessary (see Figure 4).

Leaders are 43% more likely to have automated notification of errors, exceptions, or other items requiring management review. These automated alerts serve to push along delayed payment processing.

“We have the technology…”Building a better solution

Our survey revealed the three principal solutions exercised by the Accounts Payable function to abate its pressures. They are (from most to least):

  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions
  • AP/Invoice Process Automation solutions
  • Supplier Self-service Portals

Making the final case: The benefits automation affords suppliers

Data within the table below highlights many of the specific performance benefits our survey revealed between those respondents using solutions with AP automation compared to those without it:

Key Takeaways

  • Review and define gaps in your Accounts Payable processes
  • Select a solution(s) and workflow that addresses process deficiencies – Evaluate the capabilities of your current AP solutions versus the strengths, gaps and long-term goals of improving your AP process. Consider the pros and cons of all technology enablers that will maximise automation.
  • Commit to a culture emphasising improved supplier relationships – Develop a culture where keeping suppliers is achievable and sustainable.

There are a number of benefits when optimising AP solutions so embrace AP automation and enjoy the elevated efficiency it brings.


Aberdeen Group has been an international research partner of Nebula since 2010.  With thousands of research documents, growing daily, Aberdeen’s research library helps enterprises and service providers discover the priorities and strategies of best-in-class enterprises.

Besides Nebula’s insight and research services, we also provide services to help large enterprises assess, optimise and manage their enterprise ICT environments.

Should you be interested in finding out more about Nebula’s services or discussing this research, please send us an email indicating your requirements to ContactUs@nebula.co.za.


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