Saturday, June 25, 2011

Huge opportunity remains for AR automation

By Carrie Krell, campaign manager, Esker

Given the lack of market research data about accounts receivable (AR) automation, the Institute of Financial Operations (IFO) and Esker teamed up this spring on an AR automation study -- a fact-finding mission of sorts. The results are in, and they highlight key findings of qualitative and quantitative research conducted to gain insights into AR automation trends among companies in various industries.

Presented to several thousand AR professionals during the spring of 2011, the survey checked the pulse of the business world to discover how companies are sending their invoices to customers, the cost of sending those invoices, perceptions about the benefits of electronic invoice delivery, the key challenges of customer invoicing and the main obstacles to implementing solutions for automation within accounts receivable. In addition, the survey was intended to gauge trends in AR automation toward initiatives to reduce customer invoicing costs, improve invoice delivery and visibility, and facilitate customer adoption of electronic invoicing.

What the survey found is that invoice delivery processes remain paper-based at most companies, raising several key questions:

... How are companies sending invoices (postal mail, fax or email)?
... What is it costing companies to send out invoices?
... What are the key challenges of customer invoicing?
... What are the main obstacles to implementing an AR automation solution?
... How much time and money could e-invoicing save?

Based on the findings of this study, it is clear that AR departments have a long way to go in migrating from inefficient paper-based processes. The recommendation is for companies to keep a simple focus on delivery of customer invoices in assessing the value of technologies for AR automation. By focusing on delivery and investing in a solution that addresses their specific goals with regard to sending invoices, companies can take advantage of the opportunity to significantly reduce costs and improve efficiency.

On Tuesday afternoon, IFO and Esker will present a free webinar on the survey findings. For more information, visit:

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