Tipalti’s Research Reveals Gaps in International Supplier Payment Processes

July 22, 2016         By: Mike Dautner

Tipalti, a provider of the leading global supplier payments automation platform, has released findings from a survey of finance and business executives that identifies operational trends for supplier payments in 2016.

The study referred to as, “Global Payments Operational Trends,” conducted by market research firm Gatepoint Research and sponsored by Tipalti, found that 45 percent of respondents spend more than six hours each week making supplier payments.

Beyond that, according to the survey, an additional 22 percent of the executives spend an excess of four hours a week onboarding new payees.

The survey deemed that this workload affects profitability and productivity considering supplier payment operations is essentially a cost center. Many finance firms must allot the time spent on more strategic, analytical, and value-efficient finance activities in order to micro-manage their daily supplier payment processes effectively.

The rest of the survey yielded several key findings, which can be found in the summary below:

  • The highest organizational priority was to stay compliant with accounts payable tax and regulatory requirements, with 48 percent of respondents saying this was their top AP business goal.
  • 82 percent of respondents said that streamlining supplier payment processes is high priority. Automating supplier payment processes was the second highest priority of accounts payable teams overall, with 44 percent of respondents identifying this as their top near-term business goal.
  • 98 percent of respondent’s organizations send payment to North American suppliers, but the majority also pay suppliers throughout the world. Respondents also foresee an increase in payments to Asia Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.
  • Many types of payments are used worldwide. Respondents report making payments by check (86 percent), wire transfer (83 percent), ACH (82 percent). Another 49 percent used Global ACH / eCheck to pay their international suppliers.
  • 79 percent of new suppliers are onboarded using manual processes. New payees are manually onboarded via email (43 percent) or by direct contact (36 percent).
  • In terms of technology in place to collect tax information, respondents report collecting tax information via email (43 percent), in-house software (32 percent), or third-party software (18 percent).

“As companies look to grow and scale their businesses, they will either need to invest more in accounts payable resources/personnel or identify technology to help automate their supplier payment processes,” commented Chen Amit, CEO and co-founder of Tipalti. “Finance leaders of both small and large companies need to proactively determine the best approach to handle their increasing volume and complexity of global supplier payments. Consider how the costs related to managing supplier payment operations distract from your ability to focus on more strategic and growth-oriented opportunities.”