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July 13, 2022
3 minute read

25 stats to show the brutal inefficiencies of AP and expense management.

Written by Darcie Lamond

Here’s the first stat for you. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that companies that cut costs by improving operational efficiency rather than cutting overhead and expenses emerge 12% stronger from a recession. So, where are you going to triage your efforts to improve operational efficiency in this tough business environment? The data suggest you staunch the losses in your purchasing and payables operations first.

Have a look at 24 more stats that make the case for improving inefficient AP processes.

Hours wasted on manual tasks.

87% of finance pros work overtime to finish the monthly close. (Journal of Accountancy)

25% say they need at least 10 days to complete their monthly close. (



97% waste time chasing down invoice details every month. (The Spendlightenment Survey of Finance Professionals)

30 days: Average time it takes for an AP department in a mid-market company to complete a payment. (Deloitte)

47% of suppliers are paid late as a result of that slow speed. (Deloitte)

56% of surveyed finance professionals reconcile bank statements manually — imagine! (Airbase’s Benchmark Survey of Finance Professionals)

33% of finance professionals say they spend between 50% to 75% of their time collecting, entering, and validating data. (BlackLine IMA)


(Source: IMA)

An average of 44% of large (more than 25 employees) finance teams’ time is taken up by manual tasks. (Airbase’s Benchmark Survey of Finance Professionals)


36% use spreadsheets and CSV files to transfer data manually to the GL. (Airbase’s Benchmark Survey of Finance Professionals)

42% of finance functions can be fully automated with current technology, and another 19% can be mostly automated. So why aren’t yours? (McKinsey)


(Source: McKinsey)

19% of expense reports contain at least one error, and it takes an average of 18 minutes to correct an expense report. (GBTA)

The cost of poor AP processes.

41% of surveyed finance pros say they are significantly less efficient than they could be due to a lack of finance and accounting automation.  (The Spendlightenment Survey of Finance Professionals)

And 47% say that this lack of automation costs their company time and money. (The Spendlightenment Survey of Finance Professionals)


54% have no visibility into company spending until after it has occurred. This increases the risk for fraud, makes it difficult to budget accurately, and costs the AP team valuable time at month-end. (The Spendlightenment Survey of Finance Professionals)

14 months: Median length of an employee expense fraud scheme before it is detected. Automated processes provided the oversight to reduce and detect fraud. (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners)



$9 billion: The amount spent in the U.S. every year just to track paper invoices. (PYMNTS)

Only 28% of surveyed finance professionals say they trust their financial close data. Automation reduces errors. (BlackLine IMA)

The year-over-year increase in duplicate subscriptions is 80%, which can be avoided with automated processes to alert subscribers to duplications. (Blissfully)

40% of employees who used their own funds for work-related expenses have experienced cash flow problems because of slow reimbursements. (PYMNTS)

71% of survey respondents said they would look for a new job if their employer was slow processing reimbursement requests. Now is not the time to lose valuable employees because of inefficient processes. (TriNet)

AP teams want accounting automation.

Only 8% of surveyed finance pros feel they currently have an adequate level of automation. (The Spendlightenment Survey of Finance Professionals)

92% agree with this statement: “Accounting teams with a growth mindset should seek out software and systems that can help them reduce repetitive manual work.” (The Spendlightenment Survey of Finance Professionals)

88% want greater visibility of all company spend in real time. (The Spendlightenment Survey of Finance Professionals)

Only 13% of finance executives think technological advances won’t impact their organization in the coming five years. Don’t get left behind. (Deloitte IMA)


(Source: Deloitte IMA)

Time to take action.

Find out how Airbase’s spend management platform uses accounting automation to improve efficiencies across the entire purchasing process and throughout your organization. Get efficient and emerge stronger. Schedule a demo with us.


To learn more about Airbase, contact us for a product demo.
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