Looking ahead: the future of accounts payable in 2020

AP Automation Best Practices Industry News
  • November 25, 2019
  • Chris Ogletree

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Looking ahead: the future of accounts payable in 2020

Top accounts payable trends to watch out for in 2020

Advancements in technology continue to change the business landscape, including the future of accounts payable. Accounts payable has long been centered around slow, manual processes, but that is quickly changing.

As we look ahead to what you can expect to see in 2020, you’ll notice that many of the items on this list are not new. In fact, most of these are trends that have been building for years.

Top Accounts Payable Trends

However, in 2020, we believe these trends will be adopted on a much larger scale. Here are four accounts payable automation trends that AP department managers will want to watch out for in the coming year:

1. Leveraging Data

Big data is more than just a buzzword, it is the key to transforming your organization. But if you’re like most companies, you probably have access to tons of data that you aren’t taking advantage of.

The AP department has a unique advantage because they house tons of meaningful financial data. Finding ways to leverage this data allows you to see not only current trends in the marketplace but to identify future trends. This has the ability to strengthen your entire organizations.

2. Automation

Paper processes have long been at the heart of accounts payable, but they just aren’t working anymore. 39% of professionals say their invoices have grown by 10% over the last year, rendering paper invoices cumbersome and time-consuming.

Automating AP processes can lead to faster invoice approval, increased productivity, and lower costs. Just consider the following statistics:

  • Depending on the size of your company, automation can save you more than $16 per invoice.
  • AP Automation pays for itself in 18 months or less.
  • Automated invoices can you save an average of one hour per day.

AP Automation is nothing new, but in 2020 it will go from a “nice to have” to a “must have” for the AP department. Automating your processes is necessary if you want to compete in the current business climate.

3. Cloud Technology

Anytime new technology is introduced, it’s natural to feel some hesitation. But moving the accounts payable department to cloud technology is quickly becoming the norm for organizations of all sizes.

Cloud technology is more cost-effective since it usually operates on a subscription-based service model. Companies that switched to cloud-based accounting software saw their revenue grow by 15%.

It provides department managers with real-time insights into the company’s finances and operations. And managers can access the software remotely, so invoices always get reviewed and paid on time.

4. Fraud Prevention

Fraud prevention continues to be a top concern for most companies. One report found that 86% of organizations have experienced at least one incidence of fraud in the last two years.

But the report also found that companies are recognizing the importance of fraud prevention and are starting to put systems in place to prevent it. This includes preventative measures and upgraded security policies.

One of the best ways you can reduce fraud is by getting rid of paper checks. Research shows that businesses that use wire transfers and ACH in place of paper checks experience ten times less fraud.

However, online fraud is prevalent as well, which is why it makes sense to adopt a closed payment network. This validates all members and their banking information and can cut down on possible fraud.


As AP department managers look ahead to the coming year, a common theme will begin to emerge. End-to-end automation of all AP processes is the key to leveraging data, preventing fraud, and improving visibility into your entire organization.

Many companies are only just starting to realize what an important role accounts payable plays in business operations. In 2020, accounts payable has the opportunity to become highly influential to their entire company.

And organizations that are willing to go digital in the AP department will see the biggest transformation in years to come.

A Complete Guide to AP Automation

The average AP workflow is full of manual, time-consuming, hands-on tasks. Imagine what your finance departments could accomplish with automated AP processes. Read and download our complete guide for implementing accounts payable automation for your enterprise.

Rethink what AP can be

Chris Ogletree

Chris joined Goby as Inbound Marketing Coordinator in 2016, taking over generation and development of client-facing content, such as email campaigns, website administration, and marketing collateral. He has been an integral part in Goby's rebranding project and website redesign.

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