The Global Challenge in Financial Operations: Managing Complexity, Ensuring Compliance

The past several years have been a turbulent time for accounts payable (AP) organizations, full of dramatic structural changes. Those changes have led to opportunities and challenges for finance leaders and their teams. One of those challenges is the rapidly changing regulatory environment as countries around the world enact new mandates and regulations regarding compliance, taxes, and digitization.

How can organizations navigate these regulations and ensure global compliance while increasing efficiency, embracing technological innovation, and mitigating risks? Basware recently hosted a virtual webinar, The Global Challenge in Financial Operations: Managing Complexity, Ensuring Compliance,to answer this question and explore the shifting role of accounts payable in our modern business environment. For this conversation, Markus Hornburg, Basware’s SVP of Global Compliance, joined Andrew Bartolini, Founder and Chief Research Officer with Ardent Partners, to analyze the latest data on AP teams and organizations, as well as the compliance requirements and challenges businesses are facing.

Below, you will find a few key takeaways from the webinar. You can also watch it anytime on demand here to learn more about innovative strategies and best practices.

The state of accounts payable

The past few years have been transformational for AP departments and teams. What used to be a siloed, back-office, paper-laden organization is now a key cog in overall business operations, with the potential to become a hub of intelligence as automation is increasingly embraced and as data quality improves exponentially. Here are a few key findings from Ardent Partners’ recent research into the state of AP:

  • AP continues to be a value-driver: 61% of business leaders say it’s either very valuable or exceptionally valuable to the overall operation.
  • This momentum is going to continue, particularly as invoicing becomes more complex and as organizations deal with these challenges in an agile and in-depth way
  • The top three challenges for AP organizations in 2024 are high percentage of exceptions – “the bane of AP’s existence,” Bartolini said – as well as invoice/payment approvals taking too long and fraud risk.
  • The top priorities for AP organization this year include implementing AP automation, improving AP reporting and data analytics, and enabling more suppliers to submit invoices electronically.

Financial compliance on a global scale

There are now more than 50 regions or countries with specific mandates and rules regarding how invoices are formatted, signed, transmitted, and tracked. With even more on the way, the world of accounts payable is about to get much more complex, in a very significant way, Bartolini said.

If you are building your AP automation to respond to every mandate, Hornburg added, you are taking a tactical approach when best practices call for a strategic one – one that will bundle the global review of requirements and spare your organization the time and money required to respond to each new mandate individually.

Companies also need to consider the timing of their response to these changes. While many companies are waiting for mandates to be enacted, Hornburg said the time to act is now so that businesses can reap the full benefits of compliance, including reduced complexity, process improvement, workforce efficiency, and enhanced risk management.

While all this may seem overwhelming, our experts agree that it is indeed an exciting time for accounts payable. “There has never been a better time to be working in AP than right now,” Bartolini said. “And tomorrow looks even brighter.”

Watch the webinar on demand anytime here. For more information about how Basware can support your organization’s compliance and AP automation needs, contact a member of our team today!