Business Continuity

Top Trends and Predictions Centre on AI and Agility

Lara Edwards |

Here’s a more favourable bet for 2024 than the “recession is inevitable” prediction many economists made for 2023: Artificial intelligence and automation will deepen their impact on accounts payable, bringing efficiencies and insights that allow AP teams to concentrate on strategic decision-making instead of chasing paper and problems.

That’s just one of many observations from the analysts at Ardent Partners, who each year put their heads, research, and expertise together to assess where AP is at and where they think it’s headed. They share their insights and outlook in Accounts Payable 2024: BIG Trends and Predictions, a report sponsored by SAP Concur and design to equip finance leaders for the challenges ahead. 

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Where AP is At and Where It's Going 

Take a deeper look at the trends and predictions from Ardent Partners in their annual AP report.

Get it here

AI, Automation, and Digital Transformation 

AI isn’t the only trend affecting accounts payable. It runs through their list not only for the efficiency it can bring but also for how the technology will play out in other priorities for companies. For example, with fraud attempts at an all-time high, businesses are expected to invest more heavily in prevention, and AI can play a sizable role in detection. Similarly, supply chains are predicted to keep shifting, and with automation and AI aboard, AP teams can respond with greater agility.

This year, the AI infusion deepens, as the technology is embedded in more spend management and travel solutions. That, the analysts expect, will soon launch a “revolution” in invoice and payment processing. At the same time, diligent AP teams and their companies will formulate guidelines on how the technology is used. With powerful tools available, finance leaders likely will make digital transformation and investment their top priority and take advantage of the opportunity to scrutinise and reconsider how their companies operate. “The path to becoming a top AP department starts here,” Ardent believes

Being Ready for Anything is Key 

The lack of recession, of course, doesn’t mean everything is running smoothly. Although predicting the economy will remain strong, analysts recognise global uncertainty remains, especially amid strife in Ukraine and now in the Middle East, affecting not only people but supply chains. Many companies are expected to continue shifting away from China, while many countries are setting or toughening invoicing standards. All those factors make preparing for contingencies and pivots essential. Accounts payable teams and the rest of their companies must be ready to adapt to changing conditions – both expected and unexpected – and automated, intelligent solutions can simplify adjustments across their operations.

Absorbing Best Practices, Using the Data You Have

AP teams can increasingly draw on lessons from other top-performing businesses. Whether it’s from a community of users fostered by a solutions provider – as SAP Concur does – or via LinkedIn or networks of fellow industry professionals, there’s plenty to be gained from “community” intelligence. The past few years strengthened collaboration skills and the tools that enable doing business from anywhere. The technology – and accompanying engagement – supports the sharing of best practices, and the AP community is better for it.

One reason AP has become more highly valued is the rich data possibilities it delivers. Improved reporting tools for cash flow, travel and expense, spending, and more allow better management, compliance, and decisions. AP teams are more likely to have the resources to manage and plumb that data when intelligent solutions reduce manual work and help spot issues and potential fraud. AP teams are now “hubs of intelligence” as well as “centres of efficiency.”

Where Careers Can Be Built 

It’s not just businesses that benefit as accounts payable undergo shifts in technology, processes, and prominence within an organisation. Careers can as well, with the field’s growing strategic and bottom- line roles priming AP professionals for other key roles at their companies. As the report concludes, “AP teams must start taking bold new steps to maintain their momentum and pave their way to a smarter future. That makes it an exciting time to be working in AP.”

Deepen Your Knowledge 

Read the full report to learn more about trends and predictions from Ardent Partners that can help give finance leaders, AP leaders, and their businesses the knowledge and tools to be ready for anything.


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