Companies Facing Workforce Shortages Gain Efficiency with AP Automation

Nicole Fitz Rawlins
Companies Facing Workforce Shortages Gain Efficiency with AP Automation

As another 4.5 million people quit their jobs in November 2021, every industry is feeling the pinch of workforce shortages. Reasons for “The Great Resignation” range from lack of flexibility to burnout. Whatever the underlying cause, the effects are felt across varied industries nationwide. Some sectors are struggling to fill vacant positions more than others, causing many functions to be sorted among the remaining employees.

Accounting Is Universal

Regardless of the industry, businesses have one thing in common. They all handle some form of accounting. Accounting is an integral part of business, whether they’re paying employees or vendors or getting paid by customers or partners. Having inexperienced staff take over job functions that they’re not qualified for can be disastrous, particularly in finance.

In recent years, the decline in certified accountants and financial staff, in general, has contributed to understaffed accounts receivable and accounts payable departments. The effects of Covid and mass resignations on the job market have only exacerbated a pre-existing issue. This leaves small businesses and large corporations alike trying to fill the gap of more responsibilities with fewer employees to carry them out.

Accounts payable functions are often repetitive and time-consuming manual processes. Generating invoices, verifying payment amounts, and reconciling statements usually require sorting through a lot of paperwork and the review and approval of several people to accomplish. When companies are short-staffed, this already lengthy process takes even more time.

What is not always obvious is the extra cost that comes with the extra time. Labor shortages typically cause employees to work late to cover their additional job responsibilities, which costs companies in overtime. And this still does not guarantee that vendors and suppliers will be paid on time. Slow processes like paper check payments can delay the disbursement of funds and result in late fees or, worse, the loss of valuable vendors. Overworked employees unintentionally make mistakes that can also cost the company time and possibly late fees to rectify.

Digitize How Your Business Pays and Gets Paid

Automating repetitive and tedious manual processes would establish a more efficient workflow and save time and money. Automated processes would require less workforce. But that does not mean fewer employees. It will cover the positions in short-staffed teams and departments that so many industries are having a difficult time recruiting.

People will always be needed to oversee the automated processes. Automation would free up time for current staff to work on more productive aspects of the company business. It would give otherwise burnt-out employees the ability to focus on the tasks that satisfy their creativity and help build better relationships with customers and vendors.

Many corporations begin modernizing how they do business with automating their accounting or AP departments. Accounts payable is an area that has plenty of room for automation. Vendors accept different payment types such as:

  • Virtual Cards
  • ACH
  • Check
  • Ghost Cards
  • Foreign Exchange

Corporations could count on timely payments and better workflow by using automation for all payment types. And with the right accounts payable automation technology, companies would be able to get more done even with fewer employees. They would be able to focus on hiring and recruitment in departments with a more direct income line, such as customer service and sales.

How AP Automation Helps Your Short-Staffed AP Department

  • Gain full visibility of all payment activity reducing the need for several people to review and approve
  • A cloud-based payments processing platform that can be accessed at anytime from phone, tablet, or computer
  • Faster reconciliation with real-time invoice and payment tracking, reducing the possibility of duplicate invoices, double payments, or lost payments
  • Virtual card payments are safe, secure, and help to minimize check fraud
  • Consistently pay suppliers on time and strengthen buyer and supplier relationships, while avoiding late payment fees

While the forecast is for 30% of jobs to be replaced with automation, the type of jobs is an essential factor. The main targets are repetitive and routine functions that employees do not like to do. Automation helps small businesses to keep going during labor shortages, but it also allows big companies to operate more efficiently.

Accounting crosses industries and can be automated by every business, from small businesses to huge corporations. And since being understaffed is a country and industry-wide occurrence, everyone can benefit from AP automation.



Edenred Pay, an Edenred Company, is the global leader in B2B payments automation. Our integrated platform connects buyers with trading partners, ERPs, banks, FinTechs, and payment rails to optimize supplier enablement, invoice approvals, and B2B payments and create a frictionless process for B2B transactions. Learn more at or schedule a meeting with us.