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Ten thousand businesses fail each year as a consequence of late payments, according to a study by the Federation of Small Businesses[1]. The report also uncovered that of the £17bn currently owed to small businesses, £6.8bn is expected to be paid late[2].

The fines imposed on businesses for late payments to their suppliers can also have a detrimental effect on their reputation as well as profit margins. The governance institute, ICSA, uncovered that nearly two thirds of companies fear reputational damage more than fines[3].This increases the pressure on finance and accounting departments to ensure that they are resolving outstanding payments, whilst ensuring that they are paying their suppliers on time.

Technology including cloud technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation, and machine learning will have a major impact on the day-to-day lives of professional services workers, upending many traditional ways of doing business. Within finance and accounting departments, paper based processes will be impacted the most as automation will enable accountants to reduce or eliminate data-entry tasks, monitor cash flows and ensure payments are made on time.

Bhupender Singh, CEO of global BPO Intelenet® Global Services, comments: “Eliminating the hefty amounts of paperwork that finance professionals have to deal with on a regular basis, will save businesses an incredible amount of time in the long run. For a business of any size, time management is essential.  Our automation tool iFlowTM, eradicates the duties that need to be completed by staff, enabling employees to focus on strategic tasks that empower business growth.

Only one-third of all enterprises have any significant level of automation in place, as it can be a struggle for businesses to find the right fit for their needs. However, the implementation of quality assurance & transaction monitoring methods can result in lower invoice processing costs and also superior process and data visibility.

Bhupender continues: “We see automation playing the biggest role in helping professional services in the areas of connectivity and information filtering and analysis, ultimately allowing accounting professionals to become more proactive rather than reactive in managing client relationships and driving company growth.”

[1] http://www.fsb.org.uk/LegacySitePath/policy/rpu/london/assets/late%20payment%20july%202011.pdf

[2] https://www.financialdirector.co.uk/accountancyage/news/2026119/businesses-urged-accept-late-payment-fines

[3] https://www.financialdirector.co.uk/2016/05/06/reputational-damage-bigger-fear-than-fines-icsa-poll-finds/