Beanworks Research Highlights the State of Accounts Payable (AP)

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“State of Accounts Payable 2021” illuminates current trends in a downloadable report

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Today, Beanworks, the accounts payable (AP) automation leader, released a research report aimed at helping accounting professionals and business leaders better plan and prepare for their AP automation needs through the end of 2021 and beyond.

“State of Accounts Payable 2021” is a report that offers a deep-dive into the current state of the accounts payable practice, providing insights into industry trends and the unique challenges facing accounts payable teams in 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key findings from the report include:

Automation Was a Big Contributor to AP Success During the Pandemic:
AP automation proved to be a big money saver during the COVID-19 pandemic: $35,000 (USD) was the average estimated amount saved since automating their workflows. Meanwhile, of those who did not automate their AP workflows, 72 percent agree that a lack of automation made the transition to remote work difficult. For example, 63 percent say that they were forced to go into the office to obtain physical checks and pull paper files and related assets.

Fraud and Expenses Continue to Be Big AP Pain Points:
Seventy percent agree that paper-based processes are more vulnerable to fraud than automated processes, yet half say their departments still rely on paper checks and 40 percent of their invoices arrive on paper. Of note, 76 percent say that their AP departments have received a fraudulent invoice, and 61 percent say their departments have encountered employee expense abuse.

Increased Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities and Awareness:
Seventy-eight percent say that recent, highly publicized cybersecurity breaches have caused their companies to look for new ways to bolster their cybersecurity infrastructure, with 72 percent believing that investing in AP automation will leave their company less vulnerable to ransomware and other cybersecurity attacks.

Accountants’ Productivity and Work-Life Balance:
Of note, 88 percent say the majority of their payment errors are attributable to manual data entry. Further, two-thirds agree that manual processes cause them to work more overtime hours. Seventy-nine percent say they have been working more hours since March 2020, at an average of 10 overtime hours per week.

AP Automation is a Top Investment Priority:
Eighty-three percent agree that AP automation is the top investment priority for their departments in 2021. Top automation priorities include electronic payments (44 percent), data entry (42 percent), and document matching/verification (37 percent).

“According to Beanworks’ research, 2021 has made the benefits of AP automation abundantly clear,” said Catherine Dahl, the Co-Founder and CEO of Beanworks. “AP automation served as an anchor for remote teams during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it continues to play a critical role in organizations today.”

For additional findings and to download the full report, visit

About Beanworks
Beanworks is an essential all-in-one cloud-based accounts payable automation solution for the world’s accounting teams. Beanworks helps companies transform their AP workflows from end to end and empowers accounting teams to succeed by giving them complete control over their AP processes remotely, from anywhere in the world.

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Kaelen Delaune
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