As CFOs and other finance leaders prioritize payment processing and banking fees because of economic conditions, technology may do more than improve how organizations collect revenue and manage their cash flows.
Through automated payment processing systems, one of the many areas finance chiefs said they hoped to spend more on this year in CFO’s 2023 Outlook Survey, redundant tasks no longer bog down finance teams and they can continue to focus on other areas.
Payment automation is giving finance teams back a significant number of labor hours, according to new research from American Express’ Amex Trendex: B2B Edition report that surveyed over 5,000 businesses. Thirty-six percent of U.S. businesses said payment automation is saving their finance team’s time, with average reported savings of nearly 10 hours a week, or more than 500 hours per year.
Nearly 68% of respondents said they plan to start automating or further automating their payments to suppliers, up 12 percentage points from last year. Seventy-two percent of respondents said they are focusing on automating invoices and purchase orders (up from 63% last year).
Cybersecurity Concerns and an Uncertain Future
Alongside the push to automate payment processes, most business leaders are aware of the cybersecurity risks a business exposes itself to if the implementation process is done poorly so they are investing in fraud protection solutions to keep payments secure.
Over 79% of businesses surveyed by Amex said improving security around payments is a top priority in the next year, as new technologies are also available to cyber criminals. Data suggests that most business executives are cognizant of this, with nearly 65% of respondents saying financial fraud is a key concern for their business.
Despite many “unknowns” in the economic outlook, many business leaders are focused on plans to trickle in new technologies through an overall increase in spending. Out of the 61% of U.S.-based businesses expecting to spend more on technology in the next six months, more than 68% said the desire to spend more comes with hopes to improve productivity.
Technology budgets are allocated not only to products but to business and professional services. Nearly half (47%) of the surveyed businesses are spending more on such services, and 42% of them attribute this to spending on IT and technology consultants.