Supplier invoice processing 'a burden' on UK firms

23 November 2017

The heavy burden of supplier invoice processing is leaving UK finance teams struggling with productivity, according to research by e-procurement firm Wax Digital

The study found that 82% of the finance professionals surveyed said that poor invoice process management was impacting their teams’ ability to perform effectively and leading to low job satisfaction. 

Over half said they had to deal with suppliers issuing invoices with incorrect financial values, with 60% stating that processing supplier invoices was the most hated aspect of the job among teams and 70% finding it laborious and tedious.  

For 34% missing VAT numbers were another frequent frustration and 31% said that invoices often arrived addressed to the wrong legal entity within the business. 

Wax Digital said it found financial teams were particularly concerned about the knock-on effect of manual supplier invoice management, with 45% citing impact on organisational efficiency and 37% saying these issues could hurt supplier relationships. 

Daniel Ball, director at Wax Digital said the results showed clear pitfalls in not having good invoice management. 

“The fact that so many finance teams aren’t meeting their full potential should raise productivity alarm bells for UK organisations,” he said. 

“As our survey shows, the ramifications of not having automated invoice management processes extend beyond organisational efficiency to team morale and personal performance.” 

The report said that while there was a clear appreciation of the problems posed by poor invoice management, the answer was equally apparent. 

The results showed that 97% of those surveyed believed that automated invoice processing or e-invoicing would improve their team’s job fulfilment and 99% said they saw opportunities to reallocate personnel who are manually processing invoices to more useful tasks. 

Ball added that on top of increased efficiency and reduced errors, organisational teams that used automated invoicing would see improvements in costs. 

“The big gains come in actually being able to reduce the cost to process a purchase order requisition through to payment, which can be in the region of £25-£40 per order,” he said. 

 “Multiply this by the vast number of orders an organisation makes and the benefits of invoice automation become clear.”

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