09 April 2008 | Paul Snell
Helping buyers get discounts from suppliers for prompt payment is the number-one priority of accounts payable (AP) systems, according to research of American CFOs.
A survey carried out by CFO Research Services of 186 senior finance staff in North America, found 62 per cent said the most common problem they have with AP systems is the lack of information and reports they provide.
The research also highlighted difficulties of supplier payments made before invoices were due and problems consolidating remittances with purchase orders or invoices.
However, most finance staff saw the systems performing well and are now aiming to reduce costs, improve efficiency and tighten control of the systems. Around 46 per cent of firms are looking to simplify AP processes within their own company, compared with only 7 per cent looking to outsource the process in the next year.
Finance executives warned not to sacrifice control of AP to boost cost savings, but also not to be too protective, or this would harm efficiency.