From XU Magazine, 
Issue 31

5 factors defining the new status quo for Accounts Payable in 2022

Zahara explores 5 factors influencing adoption of new accounts payable software in 2022.

We speak to finance teams every day, and many of them find it difficult to see what they are likely to spend, which is understandably worrying. Accounts Payable is their window into company spend and should provide them with their first opportunity to implement control. However, manual processes, or systems that are too ‘off the shelf’ are acting as hurdles, multiplying workloads, and facilitating rogue spend while making visibility difficult at the best of times. 
This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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The good news: having Xero puts you in an advantageous position and presents an opportunity to facilitate positive change, but it is only the start. Xero is meant for the finance team and offers minimal opportunity to implement control and visibility for the people who make the purchasing decisions across your greater business. 

We are seeing an increase in organisations looking to use the latest technology to make sure their teams are making informed decisions about what they spend and who they spend it with. Here are just five of the factors that are leading them to seek out an advanced AP add-on for Xero in 2022.  

1) Supplies of goods and services are not as robust in 2022

With Brexit, the opening and shutting of borders due to the pandemic and the war on Ukraine, we are seeing more companies dealing with a level of supply chain turbulence they have never experienced before. Pauses in manufacturing, increased shipping prices and shortages of HGV drivers are just three of the factors driving prices up and limiting product availability. Companies are having to seek out new suppliers across multiple teams and divisions, and these teams need easy access to supplier information, product lists, and prices. Finance Teams need a way to give teams easy and quick access to information while maintaining control of what they can access, and they cannot get that with Xero alone.  

2) Getting the best price as inflation hits 6%+ 

When considering cost management, inflation being at 6% or higher is a brand-new experience for finance professionals looking to manage company spending. The need to revisit spending policy and apply multiple budgets demands an easy-to-use system yes, but they also need that system to use budget information to inform spenders and their managers of new limits. This is a key area, as finance teams seek peace of mind that their teams know what they should and should not spend in a fast-changing environment. 

3) Talent is harder to come by 

Not only is skilled talent difficult to find currently, but wages are rising and so is national insurance. Saving time by automating onerous processes is a bigger saving than before, giving employees more time for value-adding tasks, an investment that will pay further dividends for a long time to come. This is evident in our day-to-day calls as we speak with various teams who hadn’t quite realised the true value of Zahara pre-covid and are now coming back to us because of the benefits it can offer alongside Xero.  

4) Spend categories are jumping with little or no notice

Some businesses we speak to are seeing key product lines jump in price for many reasons, some of which we have already discussed. With a product line jumping by ten or even twenty percent, finance teams need to empower managers to add and edit supplier details easily, but this presents a challenge in terms of data control and compliance. The challenge is not just around supplier records, but further down the process the workload required to detect duplicate invoices or fraudulent suppliers becomes even more difficult. 

5) Supporting urgency across a decentralised workforce 

The need to support those working at home is one thing, and yes, this has driven much of the new business our team has seen recently. Using the Zahara mobile app to approve purchase orders, invoices, or to capture documents has helped companies to better facilitate the spending needs of a remote team, but there is more to it. Fractured supply chains, and higher demand puts pressure on teams to make purchasing decisions quicker, and often outside of normal business hours. For example, if waiting until 9am the next day to get a purchase order just is not an option, managers and their teams then make un-informed spending decisions, compromising process, and potentially spending over-budget. 

In conclusion

While the usual suspects driving adoption of cloud-based AP software are still there; time saved, compliance, visibility, and control of spend, businesses are realising it is far beyond a ‘nice to have,’ in fact, it is considered by many to be an essential purchase that contributes towards business continuity in harder times. 

Zahara is an easy-to-use AP solution that integrates directly with Xero. It allows finance teams to control spend across entire organisations, large or small.

To book a demo, visit here.

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