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UK businesses' finance functions still manual

Finance functions in UK's businesses are still manual, a new report suggests, saying that just five per cent of companies described their accounts payable (AP) process as 'fully automated'.

The rest have their finance functions either completely manual, relying on pen and paper, and manual data input, or are semi-automated.

The news comes from automation software provider V1, which polled senior finance and IT professionals from a number of different industries. Almost half (48 per cent) said their AP was paper-based, while 47 per cent said it was semi-autonomous.

But things are about to change, dramatically. More than half (58 per cent) are planning on going automatic, with another 39 considering doing so. Unfortunately, the report does not say in which timeframe this is expected to happen.

The company also says that in this line of work, between 60 and 80 per cent of cost goes on labour. By going automatic, businesses can achieve savings in these percentages.

“Automating tasks such as data capture and invoice approval is proven to generate substantial time and cost savings for businesses, allowing staff to spend more time on adding value,” says Janette Martin, Managing Director at V1.

“With the technology available today, there is no reason for businesses to still rely on manual, paper-based processes, so it is encouraging that 97% are planning on or considering increasing automation in AP processes to unlock efficiencies.”

The respondents of the survey said that greater efficiency, mobile functionality, as well as cost-effectiveness were the primary drivers for the adoption of the new technology.