Email Surpasses Paper as Most Widely Used Method for Invoicing, According to New Study by The Institute of Financial Operations

Although paper still accounts for a majority of all invoices in sheer volume, email has become the most widely used channel for business-to-business transactions, according to the 2014 Order-to-Cash (O2C) Automation Study conducted by The Institute of Financial Operations.

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Organizations are turning to powerful cash management and business analytics tools that allow their current AR and order processing resources to function at a higher level, with greater accuracy.

Orlando, Florida (PRWEB) July 17, 2014

Although paper still accounts for a majority of all invoices in sheer volume, email has become the most widely used channel for business-to-business transactions, according to the 2014 Order-to-Cash (O2C) Automation Study conducted by The Institute of Financial Operations.

Over the past five years, email and other forms of electronic presentment have grown significantly as paper-based methods have declined. This year’s study, sponsored by Esker, was expanded in scope from previous years to include the ordering process in addition to invoicing and payments.

Among other key findings:

  •     The percentage of companies committed to begin e-invoicing within 12 months more than doubled to 5 percent from 2 percent in 2013.
  •     About 10 percent of respondents plan to automate order processing within six months, and 5 percent plan to make the conversion within 12 months.

“Accounts receivable begins with the taking of an order and ends with the application of a payment,” said Ken Brown, interim executive director of the IFO. “As a leading provider of benchmarking research in this field, we want to ensure that our annual survey aligns with the information needs of our members.”

The study shows there has been a significant gravitation toward O2C technology, but automation still is not the norm. Approximately 50 percent of survey respondents cited factors such as a lack of senior leadership support for technology initiatives and internal unwillingness to pursue process changes. A comparison with the IFO’s 2013 Accounts Receivable Automation Study shows:

  •     Lack of senior-level support for technology initiatives jumped to 20 percent from 6 percent.
  •     Lack of internal support for technology changes increased to 20 percent from 14 percent.
  •     Lack of internal support for process changes increased to 10 percent from 6 percent.

The adoption of O2C automation has been a slow process. But the days of imaging systems that provided little more than improved archiving are over.

“We’re seeing an across-the-board increase in demand for integrated solutions designed to eliminate tedious manual data entry and archiving,” said Steve Smith, U.S. Chief Operating Officer for Esker. “Organizations are turning to powerful cash management and business analytics tools that allow their current AR and order processing resources to function at a higher level, with greater accuracy.”

The online survey of IFO members was conducted in the first quarter of 2014. A full copy of the 2014 O2C Automation Study can be found at http://www.financialops.org/resource.

About The Institute of Financial Operations

The Institute of Financial Operations is a membership-based professional association serving the entire financial operations ecosystem, with a particular focus on the accounts payable and accounts receivable disciplines and the related fields of information management and data capture. The Institute grew out of the merger of four associations: International Accounts Payable Professionals (IAPP), International Accounts Receivable Professionals (IARP), the National Association of Purchasing and Payables (NAPP), and The Association for Work Process Improvement (TAWPI).

Based in Orlando, Fla., with affiliates in the U.S., Canada, and the UK, The Institute serves as a global voice, chief advocate, recognized authority, acknowledged leader, and principal educator for people in financial operations. The Institute has a community of nearly 70,000, which includes 9,000 members and customers, and an additional 61,000 financial operations professionals.

The Institute’s members have access to benefits and leading edge resources such as the award-winning Financial Ops magazine, a dynamic content-rich website, educational and networking events, online educational offerings, certification and certificate programs, career resources, and volunteer opportunities. For more information, visit http://www.financialops.org.

About Esker

Esker is the worldwide leader in document process automation solutions. Addressing all types of business processes, from accounts payable and accounts receivable to order processing and procurement, Esker cloud computing solutions enable companies to automate the reception, processing and sending of any business document with one platform.

Esker helps over 80,000 companies across the world to reduce the use of paper and eliminate manual processes while improving their productivity, efficiency and environmental impact. With 40.3 million euros in sales revenue in 2012, Esker operates in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific with global headquarters in Lyon, France, and U.S. headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information, visit http://www.esker.com.


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