Accounts payable professionals

SURVEY: Accounts Payable Professionals Are Unsatisfied, Searching for New Jobs

With the unemployment rate hovering at 3.6% and The Great Resignation still in full swing, finance departments are looking for ways to retain top talent. Accounts payable departments are vulnerable to staffing issues – especially if those employees are stuck working with manual, paper-based systems. 

To better understand how AP professionals feel in their current roles based on their workloads, leadership and available technology, we teamed up with the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM) to survey nearly 500 AP professionals.

Below are the top three takeaways from our “AP Professional Career Satisfaction Survey:”

Let’s dive deeper into each of these three learnings …

Fewer than 33% of accounts payable professionals are 'very satisfied' in their current role

Employee Satisfaction Based on Level of Automation

It should come as no surprise that those will fully automated systems are the most satisfied in their current roles, with 44% noting “extremely satisfied” and another 31% “very satisfied.” No respondents reported being “not satisfied at all”.  

As for the participants using manual, paper-based systems, they received no reports of being “extremely satisfied”; only 28% said “very satisfied” and 12% claimed to be “not satisfied at all.”  

There’s also a sense that those without automated processes likely feel stuck in their current role as only 28% agreed there are advancement opportunities in their current organization.   

Those numbers are vastly different from those with fully automated processes, where 42% “agree” and 31% “strongly agree” there are advancement opportunities.  

36% of accounts payable professionals have searched or applied for a new job in the last six months, including 48% of those with manual, paper-based processes

This statistic shows how the affinity for direct and executive leadership is scarce for those using manual systems. Only 12% of those with manual systems “strongly agree” with the statement “I believe my direct supervisor values my contributions and cares about my development.” For comparison, 69% of those with automated systems feel the same way.  

In fact, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, employees marked “feeling disrespected at work” as the third most cited reason for leaving a job among those who did so in 2021,  behind only pay and advancement opportunities.

Nearly half (46%) admit it is highly unlikely that they would consider working for another AP department that is not already automated

This statistic shows the desire AP pros have for removing mundane, tedious tasks to better fuel professional growth.

In fact, only 31% of those with manual systems agree or strongly agree with the statement “my job utilizes my abilities as much as it could.” In comparison, 75% of those with automated systems feel the same way.    

Giving employees the flexibility to work from home could also play a role in job satisfaction. According to our survey, 87% of fully automated AP pros either work fully remote (63%) or in a hybrid situation (25%), while those using manual systems are 76% in the office and only 4% fully remote.  

For more information on how end-to-end AP automation can help your company respond to staffing challenges and for a deeper look into our AP professional career satisfaction survey results, download our white paper “How to Attract, Retain and Grow Top AP Talent Amid Economic Uncertainty.”

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