Investing in a cloud-based, automated invoicing and payment system can pay for itself in less than a year and even generate new sources of revenue for state and local government agencies, according to a new report.
Paper-based invoicing is costly, results in a higher rate of errors and poses greater risks of fraud compared to modern electronic systems. Those costs will only mount as the volume of what state and local governments spend annually on consumption items continues to grow — by as much as 47 percent, to $2.5 trillion by 2026 compared to 2016, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates.
Agency financial and IT chiefs, on the other hand, can expect to see significant savings and reduce hidden costs that drain resources from government by taking advantage of an automated invoice processing and payment system, says the report, which was produced by StateScoop and sponsored by SAP Concur.
Automating invoicing and payment systems bring benefits on several fronts for CFOs and CIOs by boosting productivity, enhancing spending visibility, reducing risk of wrongful and fraudulent payments and improving cash flow, according to the report.
By capturing invoices electronically and automatically routing them for approvals, accounts payable department staffs can get “60 percent or more of their time back” for more productive tasks, said Sherri Schuller, a SAP Concur invoice specialist, in the report.
It also significantly reduces the time, travel and resources associated with auditing. In contrast to historically paper-intensive departments, agencies that have automated their invoicing and payment systems are able to access all that information electronically.
By managing payments electronically and using third-party payment partners, state and local agencies can take greater advantage of discounts and rebates, creating new opportunities to increase revenue, according to Karin Carbaugh, who manages the SAP Concur public sector business. She added that “utilizing a payment partner to process the payments also offers the most secure and the more efficient way to pay suppliers.”
For CIOs, there are also added economies that come with moving to cloud-based, software-as-a-service solutions. Agency IT teams that struggle to support aging hardware and keep up with on-premises software development can gain significant savings, improved security and faster service delivery by moving to the cloud.
Cloud-based systems provide “a reliable path for continuous software enhancements, significantly greater security and more fluid access to artificial intelligence and other powerful data analytics,” the report says.
Systems built with a wide array of APIs are able to integrate with most major financial management systems, giving CIOs more flexibility to choose how to expand in the future.
According to Schuller, SAP Concur Invoice can up and running within 12 to 14 weeks and delivering real returns in as little to six months.
Read the full report to learn how cloud-based accounts systems can improve cashflow, transparence and create new income streams.
This article was produced by StateScoop and sponsored by SAP Concur.