According to the state of automation report, 15% of finance decision-makers still use Excel to automate their accounts payable processes. Photo: Shutterstock

According to the state of automation report, 15% of finance decision-makers still use Excel to automate their accounts payable processes. Photo: Shutterstock

More than a third of finance decision-makers spend on average 20 hours a month processing invoices, according to a recent survey on the state of automation published by Yooz, a provider of accounts payable automation solutions.

This is equivalent to spending over three days a month on invoice processing alone.

Despite the enormous pressures facing businesses and CFOs, the survey also finds that 15% of finance decision makers admitted to still using Excel spreadsheets to automate their accounts payable processes.

The is based on a responses from over 1500 financial and accounting decision-makers across multiple countries, including Luxembourg. The goal of the report is to highlight the evolving challenges faced by finance teams and the role of finance leaders in driving change during times of instability.

Laurent Charpentier, CEO at Yooz, said automation plays an important role in finance departments today. “Automation is now viewed as a key tool for modern finance leaders to manage the diverse demands of their role. Effective automation allows finance teams to concentrate on added value activity and to explore new technology such as AI and data visualisation. The introduction of the latest technology will empower finance teams as they take on new challenges in 2023.”

Faster and more accurate cash flow reporting (39%) and cybersecurity (37%) were among the top reasons to increase the level of automation in finance departments, according to finance leaders surveyed.

When asked if their business plans to adopt digital payments for the accounts payable process, 42% of finance leaders surveyed confirmed they had already adopted digital payments, while a further 44% said they plan to do so in the next 12 months. Those who don’t have plans to adopt digital payments in their processes cited concerns over cost (23%) and the complexity of the transition for existing accounting systems (21%) as their main reason.

The survey results also show that the current weak economic environment is forcing many finance departments to tighten their belts. According to the report, 40% of businesses surveyed reported cutting their expenses to minimise the impact of inflation and tighter monetary conditions on their businesses.

The report also found that pay was not the top priority for retaining talent. Flexible working (36%) and remote working (32%) were cited among the top two measures organisations use to retain and attract finance talent.