5 key stats from Ardent Partners "State of ePayables"

September 12, 2019 Matt Vermeulen

Accounts payable professionals can be true champions of your enterprise, and Ardent Partners is here to prove it. Every year Ardent Partners releases their state of e-payables report on the trends shaping accounts payable. 

We want to highlight five key stats that show how your accounts payable professionals can help you stay ahead and meet the demands of a digitally changing world. 

62 percent of departments say high exception rates are the top pressure for accounts payable

First, the bad news. Exceptions are still causing massive headaches for accounts payable. 62 percent of accounts payable departments still rank a high percentage of exceptions as the biggest pressure to a high performing department. They’re like boulders falling on a freshly groomed road, blocking traffic for miles. They cause bottlenecks and slow down invoice processing to a near standstill. 


48 percent say the top priority for accounts payable is improving reporting

And if your work is looking ahead to change, then the fact that accounts payable departments rank reporting/data analytics and eliminating paper as the top two priorities for the year is no news to you. And if you’ve been in the business for any amount of time, you know how important it is to gain more insights into spend and eliminating paper. What else is left to say but to do it? As Ardent Partners says, “Paper invoices and checks will always be a problem that needs to be addressed in order for any AP team to realize its true potential, and, more importantly, optimize its value.” 



Best-in-class teams only spend 2.28 dollars per invoice processed

Best-in-class accounts payable departments process invoices in just under three days. It costs them right around two dollars per invoice. They do it with over 60 percent processed “straight-through” and only 10 percent of them with exceptions. 

That’s phenomenal work. And it’s due to enterprises approaching technology initiatives as “digital transformations,” not just ad hoc digitization. And that’s great news for accounts payable, because it allows teams to not only take advantage of e-invoicing, but a whole robust ecosystem of tools to help automate and make the function more strategic. 

Because when you’re able to so drastically reduce your processing time and cost, then you’ve got a whole lot of time you never had to think strategically about how your enterprise pays its invoices, giving fresh insight into cash strategy. 

Best-in-class accounts payable teams take advantage of technology: 69 percent use e-invoicing

Accounts payable automation is a journey, not a one-time investment. The best enterprises know how to build a robust technology strategy to help them maximize every new innovation they implement.


Accounts payable transformation: 90 percent say accounts payable teams will take on diverse roles

As the perception of accounts payable continues to change and improve in enterprises across industries, the role it plays in business functions continues to grow. And so do expectations. 

Accounts payable teams are expected to do more within the enterprise. While that may ring some stress alarm bells, the best-in-class departments are well aligned to succeed because of their wealth of data insight and saved time from automation.  

That rounds out what leaders said about the capabilities their accounts payable will need to improve performance. The top four are customer service approaches, fraud and compliance help, knowledge of the full P2P process, and analytics and business intelligence. 

When you’re able to pay your sellers more quickly, and when you can deliver value to key stakeholders in the company, you can improve your perception and customer-service led initiatives.

And a digital accounts payable solution gives you the insight analytics to see more clearly the whole P2P process of your enterprise and identify fraud more quickly. That’s driving far more value than accounts payable ever has. 

The intelligent solution

No best-in-class accounts payable department got there without a strategy. Your key stakeholders need to identify top priorities to address and build a plan to address how accounts payable can solve problems for the enterprise. And it just so happens that a digital accounts payable department can save your enterprise time and money and provide deep insight into spending data and increase cash strategy initiatives. 

Read your copy of The State of ePayables 2019: Driving Value in the Age of Intelligence 


About the Author

Matt Vermeulen

Matt Vermeulen writes about B2B commerce for Tradeshift. Whether he's writing about Accounts Payable best practices or debunking AI myths, Matt enjoys making complex topics easy to understand and fun to read.

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