UK accounting continues ‘slight’ shift towards digital

Accounting departments in UK businesses have continued to shift towards digital practices, but more than four in 10 (41%) continue to rely on paper-based processes, according to new independent research.

The ‘Changing trends in the purchasing processes of UK businesses‘ report, commissioned by automated accounts payable and electronic document management software provider, Invu, revealed a slight reduction in the number of businesses relying on paper-based accounting in the last few years.

The 41% in this latest report is a slight fall from the 45% of business finance decision makers who admitted to relying on paper-based accounting in 2016.

But despite the trend towards digital, the report revealed a significant number of finance bosses who admitted that their company was struggling to move fully to a digital based model.

More than half, 56%, said that a paper process was still used at some point within the purchasing process in their business.

Within accounts payable departments in these UK businesses, 16% of finance bosses said their company had not introduced any digital processes at all – relying on totally paper – while nearly a quarter 24% relied on manual scanning and storing of documents.

Ian Smith, General Manager and Finance Director at Invu, said the findings showed a welcome trend of redundancy of paper-based accounting, but said some businesses were still putting themselves at risk by continuing to rely solely on paper.

“Businesses are often dealing with dozens, if not hundreds of invoices and payment enquiries on a daily basis and trying to manage and juggle these requests and demands using paper and filing cabinets can easily lead to finance departments being overwhelmed.

“Delays commonly arising from manual processing of supplier invoices can result in a business being unaware of its future payment commitments – and then it is only a short step further before they end up in severe financial difficulties.

“Given the current focus in the UK on productivity it is frankly staggering that so many companies won’t let go of their legacy paper-based systems and free their accounting teams up to add value to the business rather than drown in paper work.

“In a rapidly changing world this report shows a welcome shift towards the use of technology. I’m concerned for the future of the 41% of businesses that appear to be lagging behind”

To view the full findings of the survey, including purchasing trends and pain points for UK businesses in 2018, visit the Invu website at:

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