Risk

When Crisis Strikes, Resilient AP Systems Are Crucial

May 19, 2021

AP Teams

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

The uncertainty caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic has generated opportunities for fraud to flourish as businesses reported a 112% increase in financial scams in the first and second quarter of 2020. The disruption caused by the virus has altered traditional company operations and many financial systems have become vulnerable to attack or have experienced a major reduction in efficiency. When a crisis occurs, it forces organizations to double down and ensure internal systems like accounts payable (AP) are operating effectively so that the company can prepare for potential losses in revenue. Yet when these systems are already strained, the impact of an emergency can be even more devastating than necessary.

According to PwC, 40% of companies plan to spend more on fraud prevention over the next two years. Statistics also show that organizations who invest in resilient AP software are better off.

accounting fraud

Big little lies

Fraud is an inescapable part of the business world and a crisis presents scammers with the perfect opportunity to exploit any vulnerabilities within your financial systems. And even worse, some of the fraud is likely to be an inside job. Roughly 5% of an organization’s revenue is directly or indirectly stolen by inaccurate expense filing, and that is in an average year. In the US, this represents a potential total annual loss of approximately USD $4 trillion.

Across the pond, a British survey of more than 1,000 employees revealed that 85% of them admitted to falsifying expense reports. Furthermore, 82% of employees that lied have never been caught.

Thankfully, businesses are taking action. According to PwC, 40% of companies plan to spend more on fraud prevention over the next two years. Statistics also show that organizations who invest in resilient AP software are better off. Businesses with dedicated fraud programs spent 42% less on emergency response and 17% less on remediation costs.

Out of office

Remote work has created serious challenges for AP teams as limited office access has made traditional procedures, like manually filing invoices or approving payments, drastically more difficult. In a 2020 study, 25% of organizations said that manual AP processes resulted in too many duplicate invoices or payments. This means that almost half of businesses remain reliant on outdated manual operations like paper checks, which must be filed from an office. More importantly, these outdated systems could be costing your company more than you think. When considering labor alone, if you have one AP clerk processing invoices full-time at USD $20 per hour (or approximately USD $3,440 per month), 300 to 400 invoices would cost your business about USD $9 to USD $12 per document. And that’s before we’ve factored in printing costs, which can cost between USD $300-$400 per month. As workflows go, this manual approach isn’t very efficient – and when you add a crisis to the mix, the damage can be significant.

By reducing labor-intensive and inefficient tasks, organizations with AP automation save 60-80% of the costs associated with processing an invoice.

 

Accounting automation

To future-proof your company, modernizing your existing systems can make an immense impact. Beanworks AP automation can help rework your finance teams and introduce new technologies, such as electronic payments. Beanworks provides various options for electronic payments and stores validated data, banking information and important financial information, resulting in an 83% reduction in your data entry requirements. With the Beanworks app, you can track payments and transactions in real-time, as well as submit digital receipts for expense management. But, where Beanworks really offers the most value is in cost savings. By reducing labor-intensive and inefficient tasks, organizations with AP automation save 60-80% of the costs associated with processing an invoice.

“Our people working at the sites don’t have the luxury of working from home. Submitting expense claims became very challenging.” Robert Cremers, Director of Finance and Administration, Athabasca Catering

Catering for the future 

The pandemic has already fueled widespread change to financial systems. When COVID-19 first emerged, Beanworks customer, Athabasca Catering, realized their business was in trouble. As day-to-day operations couldn’t be carried out from home, the organization had to pivot to first find a way to provide their services safely, and then manage paper-based expenses and other financial transactions that required office space.

Robert Cremers“Our people working at the sites don’t have the luxury of working from home,” said Robert Cremers, Director of Finance and Administration at Athabasca. “Submitting expense claims became very challenging.”

But, once Cremers found Beanworks, Athabasca was able to manage and monitor costs through the Beanworks mobile app, cutting reconciliation of expenses down to nearly 30 seconds. The company was also able to go completely paperless. Athabasca’s spend on paper was reduced by about 75% while printing and copying was cut from CAD $400 per month to CAD $100 per quarter.

While the pandemic has accelerated the need for businesses to prepare for uncertainty, arming your AP team with the right technology ensures your finances are a lot more secure. When you integrate Beanworks AP automation into your systems, critical operations such as avoiding payment delays, tracking expenses and creating purchase orders will continue uninterrupted. With Beanworks, your team will enjoy new, streamlined workflows and time-saving tools so that they can focus on what matters most – making your business grow.

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