Powering Finance Transformation for Small and Medium Businesses through Cloud AP

The importance of Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) to both developed and developing economies is indisputable. They represent about 90% of all businesses and generate half of the global revenues. Despite these strong numbers, SMBs face unique headwinds in today’s changing global landscape – limited financing for digital transformation, challenges in the adoption of new technologies, low operational efficiency, and the need to drive business agility and flexibility. These challenges have been further aggravated by the twin effects of Covid-19, which has had a more significant impact on SMBs and the e-commerce sector, than on the digital transformation investments made by large enterprises. SMBs, hence, must reimagine their businesses and delivery models to rapidly realize operational efficiencies and drive scale, especially given that they now have direct access to global suppliers and customers, as evidenced during the pandemic.

Cloud AP - An innovative Operating Model for SMBs

Most SMBs have manual AP processes and spend a significant amount of effort and costs in managing their AP. This presents an opportunity for them to cut AP operational costs by 40%-50%, by leveraging AP automation technologies. Cloud AP, through SaaS and BPaaS models, present a unique asset-light, innovative operating model that enables SMBs to adopt AP digital transformation without the need for significant capital expenditure and in-house technical expertise.

They can also leverage the investments made by SaaS and BPaaS service providers in technology innovations around cognitive automation, powered by AI/ML, Data and Analytics while reaping the benefits of any output-based pricing models offered by these providers. Here, we will discuss the major benefits of the Cloud AP model for SMBs.

  • Hyper Automation:

    A host of manual tasks are easily automated with Cloud AP, thus freeing the workforce for more critical business activities. Automation capabilities, such as intelligent AI/ML document extraction, Smart Match, automated exception management, duplicate payments elimination, and Language Neutralization, are especially relevant as SMBs are now operating in a global environment. These hyper-automation capabilities can help SMBs save significant operational costs on AP.
  • Business Effectiveness:

    A Cloud model enables easier adoption of data-driven services to move beyond operational efficiencies and cost savings to realize business effectiveness through metrics such as working capital optimization and spend savings by matching invoices with not only purchase orders but with upstream contracts, thus transforming AP function to a strategic business enabler.
  • Anytime, Anywhere Availability and Scalability:

    The pandemic drove home the need for digital operating models and anytime, anywhere availability and global scale, as employees and supply chains transcended countries. These capabilities are in-built into a Cloud AP model while providing economies of scale that a multi-tenanted shared model provides.
  • Compliance and Data Security:

    The globalization of the economy and supply chains has necessitated the need for SMBs to focus on compliance and data security to comply with global regulatory requirements. Cloud AP, with its robust data security, high availability, and global compliance already built-in, enables SMBs to rely on the service provider’s capabilities cost-effectively, while focusing on strategic business growth globally. 
  • Integration and Collaboration:

    As business models are getting increasingly global and decentralized, integration and collaboration between ecosystem players have become critical. A unified AP Cloud model enables easy integration and collaboration for networked and connected systems and ways of working, for both a global employee workforce as well an ecosystem of partners that SMBs need to deal with.

For SMBs on a digital transformation journey, leveraging the above capabilities at speed is key in responding to a rapidly changing technology and business landscape. Now more than ever, it is crucial to deliver and exceed market expectations with a robust digital mindset backed by innovation. Enabling businesses to sense, learn, and respond will be imperative for business excellence going forward. A comprehensive, yet a modular suite of Cloud AP platform is doing exactly that - equipping SMBs with touchless AP processing and intuitive decision-making automatically at scale, real-time actionable insights, anytime/anywhere experience, and in-depth data visibility leading to hyper-productivity and business effectiveness.

How can Infosys BPM help you?

Infosys BPM offers the Infosys Accounts Payable on Cloud (APOC) and BPaaS model that transforms the Invoice-to-Pay process using Automation and AI/ML models to deliver operational efficiency,  as well as power business effectiveness and experience for SMBs.

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