As 2021 kicks into high gear, there’s an obvious question on the minds of finance professionals throughout the accounts payable (AP) software market: Will the market experience growth this year?
And there’s this follow-up question: If the market grows, what will drive that growth?
We’ll help you answer both questions.
Let’s start by resonating with a powerful statistic that emerged from our survey of 500 business leaders that has been summarized in this new report, Expert Insights for Peak Performance in 2021. We found more than 68 percent of businesses believe they’re well positioned to grow this year.
That’s remarkable and energizing. So what will be the key drivers boosting this market in 2021?
Three stand out: digital transformation, digital workflows and digital skills.
3 Drivers of Accounts Payable Software Market Growth in 2021
1. Digital transformation
The term “digital transformation” has been widely used to describe the next big wave of change in how businesses operate and compete using digital technologies such as cloud computing, machine learning and big data throughout the businesses.
Companies are making this shift for a few reasons to:
- boost productivity
- improve efficiencies
- lower costs
- strengthen customer relationships
- create more competitive differentiation across the business
And this year has intensified the need for these profound changes to happen. Since the pandemic began, 80 percent of CEOs said business digital transformations have accelerated, according to a KPMG survey. Some businesses have made three-to-four years of progress in only three-to-four months.
Why so much momentum?
In a word, efficiency. The biggest reason companies are investing more in digital transformation – cited by 44 percent – is to create more efficiency for the finance team.
2. Digital workflows
You may see a growing need for financial companies to install more digital workflow systems. A digital workflow consists of interrelated steps and rules to perform a business function. For example, an invoice powered by a digital workflow travels through an electronic online system. It ends with a payment on behalf of a customer to a supplier or vendor.
Powered by AP software, digital workflows help finance teams maintain control of documents and see more details about the invoice approval process and status.
52 percent have seen invoice delays since pandemic began
Since the start of COVID-19, 52 percent of our respondents have been delayed in processing invoices received from their vendors.
What’s the biggest reason for these delays? The answer: securing approvals while working remotely (cited by 52 percent).
3. Digital skills
To minimize invoice approval delays, businesses will use more digital workflows that increase demand for people with advanced digital skills. Those include the ability to manage, analyze and derive insights from information using cloud computing, machine learning and big data.
For success in 2021, businesses should consider hiring people who can quickly and intelligently use software, applications and network digital tools to organize and synthesize data faster to accelerate more-informed decisions.
The importance of this can’t be overstated. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of our survey respondents anticipated at least half of all internal operations will become fully digital in 2021.
All this and more will be part of this growth equation. And at the core of this growth will be the continued acceleration of digital transformations within companies. This affects all departments from marketing to sales to human resources to operations.
Finance will become more than ever an all-digital all-the-time industry. There will be no letting up on this transformation. More digital technologies will be used for more purposes. It will allow companies to compete and deliver more personalized services to customers.
So it comes down to this: Embracing an all-digital mindset, focusing on total transformation, creating smooth digital workflows, and hiring digital and AP software experts, will be great growth opportunities for your business to thrive.