40% of businesses still using spreadsheers for finance function

Research into UK SME finance and accounting departments has exposed the sheer lack of digital tools currently used, with just one in five (20%) having adopted the use of automated invoice processing and 39% are still using Excel spreadsheets and manual processes.

The research of over 200 UK finance and accounts payable professionals also revealed that over a third (35%) haven’t automated their accounting processes because they use multiple formats for invoices and don’t want multiple software systems.

This reluctance to adopt automation is, despite acknowledging the faults of manual accounting processes, such as being too time consuming (43%), can result in late payments (29%) and even the loss of financial documents in the past (27%). Others recognised the drawbacks of manual processing as an inability to operate efficiently with the shift to remote working (27%) and the reason for making critical human and admin errors (26%).

Francois Lacas, Deputy Chief of Operations at Purchase to Pay software provider, Yooz, says, “UK businesses are facing many tough challenges at the moment as they, like many businesses across the world, begin their recovery from the pandemic. Add in the challenges brought about by Brexit and it becomes clear that they need to get smart when it comes to business and finance operations. You could make a strong argument that the need for streamlined processes and financial automation has never been more critical for business prosperity as it is now.”

The independent research, commissioned by Yooz, also found that a quarter (25%) of UK finance leaders say it takes their business anywhere between one and seven days to process a supplier invoice. According to Government figures there are six million SMEs in the UK, meaning that 1.5 million UK businesses are taking longer than necessary to process supplier invoices.

Lacas continues, “By automating financial processing, not only are you saving financial resources, but your employee resources, too. Your finance team is critical to your business’s success. When automating these processes, all of the work is done automatically for your team.”

A further 6% of companies, which equates to 360,000, admitted to taking more than seven days to process supplier invoices. When you consider that SMEs account for three fifths of the UK employment and around half of the UKs annual turnover, can they afford to be reliant on slow invoice processing.

Lacas concludes, “Now is the time for businesses to seize the opportunity to embrace new technology and a better way of working.”