European business abandoning manual P2P processing

New research reveals a move towards a completely digital P2P environment

Canon Europe recently announced that just 3% of Western European businesses believe that manual P2P processing will continue into the future.

The finding originates from The Future of Purchase to Pay (P2P) 2016, a Canon trends report compiled by ICM Unlimited, which asked finance and procurement leaders how they believe the world of P2P will continue to evolve over the next few years. Most businesses report that they have yet to fully control spend using Purchase Orders (PO) and half say they have less than 50% of their spend under control. Despite this, however, there is almost universal agreement that the P2P process will be automated in the future; and over half of the European companies have already begun that journey.

The report found that while there are concerns around cost and productivity, businesses seem motivated to explore how P2P technology can help.  Half of finance decision makers (50%) feel their department productivity is below average; while 42% of procurement leaders feel their department is operating below the desired level of productivity. However, the trend towards automation in finance sees no sign of slowing down, 23% of European decision makers are saying that their businesses will achieve full digital transformation for P2P in the next two years.

It seems businesses view manual processing of P2P as wholly or partly to blame for the situation, with 10% of businesses in Europe saying they have already achieved full digital transformation of P2P.

Fabrizio Falzarano, European Team Leader, Information Management Solutions, Canon Europe, comments: “In this challenging market, European businesses clearly feel that they need to get a better grip on P2P. They want to be able to access, and pay for, goods and services in the most cost effective and efficient way possible. Efficiency and productivity are key elements to any successful business; and technology is seen as the best platform through which to improve in these areas. In order to boost these factors through technology, businesses will need the support of trusted partners. At Canon, our expertise at providing cutting-edge technology not only solves business challenges, but supports the delivery of superior results in any business function, including P2P.”

"The selection of a partner for P2P is very important and European businesses want to collaborate directly with solution vendors for this challenge,” says Pete Loughlin, Managing Director, at P2P consultancy firm Purchasing Insight. There is a remarkably strong sentiment towards working with a single vendor across the entire P2P spectrum, rather than cherry picking point solutions. This ability to work with a single partner is what will provide end-to-end P2P solutions and services, under several delivery models, that will be crucial to the successful transformation into a P2P excellence organisation."

The study was developed in conjunction with Purchasing Insight and the findings are the result of 706 online interviews with business influencers and decision makers spanning 12 European markets including the UK, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy, among others, conducted by ICM Unlimited. The respondents were sourced from board level directors within corporate finance and procurement functions; at businesses of varying seizes from 100-249 employees up to over 5,000 employees.