New research from Weavr shines a light on the gaps in Accounts Payable (AP) platforms – and where opportunities lie for embedded finance. When embedded finance gives AP new financial capabilities, it moves that platform a step or two closer to being irreplaceable. The first step looks like making Accounts Payable actually payable – that is, by bringing payment capabilities into the platform. And, making payments within their AP tool is something finance teams said they’d pay more for – but we’ll get to that later.

Accounts Payable is no stranger to digitisation and automation. New Weavr research, conducted late 2023, finds that 97% of Accounts Payable professionals are using dedicated software to complete the AP process. That’s no revelation. However, almost all finance professionals said their AP processes can’t be solved end-to-end in their myriad of software tools. Manual processes and tools abound. Therein lies an opportunity for innovation.

97% of Accounts Payable professional are using dedicated software to complete the Accounts Payable process.

In this guide we will be looking at the struggles teams are facing with Accounts Payable and exactly how embedding financial features into their AP tools can help. We cover quite a lot of aspects and so, if you’re in a hurry, check the links on the left to jump to specific topics.

In general, the Accounts Payable process still contains many digital gaps – many of which embedded finance can fill.

When accounting software falls short of the procure-to-pay dream, AP professionals end up using two, three or maybe even four dedicated tools. Most AP professionals will also switch elements of their workflow to Microsoft Excel, verbal checks, emails, and so on. Some won’t mind (many like a spreadsheet) but productivity, error mitigation, and collaboration will take a hit as a result.

There are pressures from all sides as invoices and queries flood in, fish slip the net in the form of errors and fraud, and payments land late in the hands of disgruntled suppliers.

As Anna Koussertari of the AP Association writes, “People tend not to notice AP when it’s working well, but if it stops working, they will certainly notice the difference and everyone will know about it.” 

Accounts Payable software providers still aim to make their platforms irreplaceable in the eyes of harassed Accounts Payable professionals. As these tool providers look to their next advantage, AI will naturally be a focus for the gold rush. However, since Accounts Payable is concerned with collaboration, accuracy and efficiency, the more disruptive addition to the AP market might actually be that other new player on the block: embedded finance.

What exactly is Accounts Payable?

Accounts Payable (AP) is the function of an organisation’s finance department that ensures suppliers are paid the correct amount, ideally on time, for the goods and services the organisation has ordered. AP teams do this through the processing of invoices, collaborating with finance and procurement teams, and by helping to look after supplier relations, responding to queries as they go.

The day-to-day reality, however, is far more complex. Accounts Payable teams are “the frontline of payment culture”, as Jamie Radford, Founder & CEO of the Accounts Payable Association, told Good Business Pays. They effectively become custodians of supplier relations – especially for small and micro businesses that need to get paid on time in order to survive month-to-month.

In many ways, “a frontline” is an apt term to describe the Accounts Payable routine.

The situation is this: AP professionals are stuck in the trenches with hundreds of invoices flooding in daily – some of which won’t match the initially agreed price raised in a purchase order, and some of which never had a purchase order to match to the invoice.

The average full-time Accounts Payable employee processes 9,437 invoices each year, according to research by consulting group Auxis. Under this workload, Accounts Payable teams can be stuck between the “rock” of performing without error and the “hard place” of pressure to process invoices as fast as possible. Accounts Payable teams can come under fire for failing on either count. 

Every week, many AP specialists will also be fighting a backlog of issue-laden invoices that weren’t paid on time. Accounts Payable teams are often the ones left picking through the pieces when other departments fail to negotiate and lock-in payment terms or if they fail to source the correct supplier information upfront. It’s no wonder that AP Now describes Accounts Payable as “the hardest accounting job.”

What is the current Accounts Payable process?

In theory, and in the simplest cases, the Accounts Payable process is as follows:

The current Accounts Payable process:
1. The AP team receives an invoice from a supplier.
2. If the supplier is new, the AP team codes the supplier’s details into some kind of software, as well as their bank’s software.
3. The AP team codes the invoice into AP software (or a spreadsheet). This process might be automated, in which case the values will simply require approval.
4. The AP team matches the invoice to a purchase order and delivery note. This process is known as the three-way match. When purchasing digital services or assets, there is often no ‘delivery note', so it becomes a two-way match. If the organisation is not using purchase orders, the Accounts Payable must match the invoices against more informal agreements, such as supplier prices agreed by email.
5. The AP team notes any discrepancies with the match and seeks to resolve them. This can be a complicated, drawn out process in which the purchaser and the supplier might continue to disagree on price.
6. The AP team prepares a payment run and requests approval to pay. Depending on how the approvals system in the organisation works this might require approval from the original purchaser of the services or goods, as well as final approval from a financial controller.
7. Payment execution. Ideally this payment will have happened on time, so the supplier will be happy and prepared to do business with the organisation again.
Reconciliation. Matching the accounting transactions to the correct lines of the bank statement to show that the supplier was paid, and for how much and when. This ensures the company doesn’t pay the same invoice twice.

Already, you can see that this process has many moving parts. A smaller business might undertake a shortened version of this process – one that doesn’t need purchase orders, or with fewer layers of assurance and approval. However, small businesses might only have one AP professional, or perhaps no AP professional at all. There is still room for friction and error everywhere.

Why is it so complicated? Why can’t it be as simple as paying your friends through an app? Well, maybe with embedded finance it could be that simple.

For now… it would be like trying to pay hundreds of friends in far flung locations every day. You aren’t 100% certain they are all your friends, some are asking for more than you agreed, and you can’t afford to pay them all at once because you need next month’s cash flow to kick in. At the same time, some of these friendships have been a bit tested recently, and some are even sending you emails asking “WHERE’S MY MONEY?”, and you still really want them to remain your friends because you depend on them for your livelihood. 

So it’s not as simple as paying your friends.

The Accounts Payable process is far more collaborative than you might think…

In our survey of AP professionals, we found that most work in teams. One third work in teams of six or more people, and the majority (51% of respondents) work in teams of 2-5.

Research: “Including you, how many people work in your team?

51% of Accounts Payable professionals have two to five people on their team.

Again, no great revelation there – most of us work in teams. However, when you multiply manual tasks by the number of collaborations required to complete an AP task, the room for error expands. While the AP process technically begins with the arrival of the invoice, in reality it’s completely dependent on the steps that were carried out before by procurement and other finance professionals. 

For instance, the AP process becomes much more difficult if the following steps have not been carried out well beforehand:

1. The raised requisition – the pre-approval to spend money with a supplier. 
2. The purchase order – detailing the correct terms of the payment, filled out by the purchaser in the organisation. 
3. Forecasting – predicting the influx of invoices against cash flow and ensuring there will be enough money in the organisation to pay all suppliers on time.
4. Supplier onboarding – a typically manual and lengthy process, in which the supplier needs to prove who they are to mitigate the risk of fraud. You also need to get the right info so that the old adage of “rubbish in, rubbish out” doesn’t ring true with your payment system.

The Accounts Payable process is therefore one part of a highly collaborative jigsaw puzzle, one in which procurement, finance and AP specialists must make sure they’ve got all the right pieces, that the pieces fall in place and on time, and that they don’t have any duplicate bits of sky.

When the AP process works smoothly..

When Accounts Payable works correctly, the company doesn't pay more than it should, it won't underpay suppliers, there'll be no duplicate payments, payments will be on time, your reputation will be intact and suppliers will continue to work with you.

What tools do SMEs use for Accounts Payable?

Pretty much all Accounts Payable systems will let users log, report, and customise Accounts Payable transaction items. Many also have their own area of focus:

Accounts Payable

These are specialised tools for AP teams and processes. They don’t necessarily encompass the wider aspects of finance processes. As a result, they’re usually not used as the primary database for accounting data.

Accounting

These tools are the primary location for bookkeeping and accounting data. They usually encompass functionality around AP, AR, cash management, reporting and so on. Most SMBs use one of the bigger cloud accounting systems, since there is a strong network effect around standardisation; but there is also a long tail of lesser-known tools especially for smaller businesses.

Procurement

These tools focus on particular business verticals and processes from the point of view of the stakeholders ordering from suppliers. The platform might include invoice payment processes but it’s often not the primary tool for the finance team. Procurement tools which aim to bridge multiple teams – and focus on processes as well as accounting – are often called “Procure to Pay” or “Purchase to Pay” systems.

You’ll find Procurement Pangolin used as an example in our other guide page “How embedded finance boosts revenue for SaaS products.”

Bulk payments

Some tools specifically focus on preparing, approving, and processing batch or bulk payments. These were commonly found in payroll and rebates management but, like a newly-introduced bird species to a wetland, they can now also be found in supplier invoice payments.

But there are Accounts Payable software limitations

Ask an AP platform provider what automation and software can accomplish for the AP process, and they might well respond with “everything.” You might imagine all issues in the AP process are already solved.

Ask the same question to an AP professional, however, and they’ll likely chuckle. From their perspective, no tool can do it all. Not only that, no tool can do exactly what they need all the time, so they end up using several tools, and/or reverting back to spreadsheets throughout the workflow.

A quick trip to Reddit will show you the general mood. One thread asks “Is Accounts Payable always going to be a pain in the ass?” and starts off with a financial controller saying they just switched software. Their old system “sucked” and the new system “sucks even more.”

One accountant replies saying, “I feel AP is the hardest area to automate because you are reliant on the many different formats of data received from your various vendors.” Another says, “Management gets swindled by ‘AI-powered automation’ that suggests you don’t need a human to help guide the process. This just puts extra work on the rest of the team because nothing ever works as well as salespeople tell you.”

In our survey of AP professionals, we count that 97% use software to complete AP, but only 15% are able to complete their work using a single tool.

Research: “How many different software tools, if any, do you and your team use to complete Accounts Payable work?

82% of Accounts Payable professionals use two or more tools to complete their work

Software is only sort-of working together to join up the Accounts Payable process. More than half of the AP professionals responding to our survey spend over 40% of their AP process working time in software tools, but a large portion of their time does not involve financial/accounting software.

Research: “What proportion of your time working on Accounts Payable processes, if any, is spent interacting with financial and accounting software?

60% of Accounts Payable workers. spend more than 41% of their time on Accounts Payable processes

Working outside of dedicated software, manual work might include:

  • Paperwork
  • Communications
  • Checks
  • Calculations
  • Reviews
  • Spreadsheets

As a result, although 97% of the AP professionals we surveyed are using AP software, manual data import or export is still frequently cited as a top frustration in causing delays (by just over a fifth of professionals). And plenty more, no doubt, would consider it the second or third most frustrating aspect of their work.

It’s no wonder that Accounts Payable professionals can rarely afford to work with a single monitor. Many AP professionals will ensure they’re working with at least two, or perhaps three or even four screens, in order to help with manual reconciliation.

Top worries and frustrations of Accounts Payable professionals

The top 3 most frustrating time delay in Accounts Payable processes that Weavr's research reveals are:
1. Manual data and import of export (21.6%)
2. Seeking AP approvals (11.2%)
3. Executing payments (10.8%)

So yes, despite the prevalence of AP software and automation, this is still a world full of manual tasks. There may well still be situations in which:

  • An invoice is paid but not marked as closed in the supplier ledger, so it gets processed twice.
  • A vendor’s payment terms and conditions aren’t reflected on the purchase order and so there’s a dispute with the invoice.
  • Data entry isn’t standardised, and people might describe the same purchase in different ways.
  • VAT remains unclaimed on some purchases.
  • Supplier credit notes go missing or remain unclaimed.
  • Early payment discounts are missed because they aren’t centrally logged or checked.

It’s not surprising that only 4% of finance professionals say they never worry about significant human error risks when working on bulk payments.

Research: “How often, if ever, do you worry about making significant mistakes as a result of human error when preparing or executing payment runs?

72% of Accounts Payable professionals worry about making mistakes due to human error.

Manual data import and export is not only a top cause of delays, it’s the top source of worry for finance professionals due to the risk of human error.

If you look at the distribution of responses we received below, the entire workflow of AP seems to create sources of worry around accuracy and the potential for making mistakes.

The top 3 worries for human error in AP processes:
1. 21.2%. cite manual data import or export
2. 12.8% state creating payment batches.
3. 12.8% say it's figuring out the status of payments made

Accounts Payable teams are still keen to see more features from AP platforms

AP platforms might have gaps, and AP professionals might be using multiple tools, spreadsheets and manual processes to fill them – however, those professionals don’t want that to remain the norm.

Research: We found that the majority of finance professionals are eager to get new features from their AP software, such as:

Weavr finds that the majority of finance professionals are keen to:
- See all current balances across their company's payment accounts
- Batch up payments and approve/execute in bulk
- Pre-filled details for bank payments that lock down the correct payee and amount
- Shared dashboards to keep all stakeholders on the same page
- Automation of reconciliation between completed payments and invoice statuses

AP professionals welcomed all of the above-suggested AP software feature ideas. Around two-thirds of all respondents said that every feature idea would have at least a “medium” positive impact, and just over a quarter considered every feature idea “high” or “very high” impact.

So how does embedded finance improve Accounts Payable?

It boils down to two main areas: adding payment execution to AP software and, with it, providing automations to replace manual processes.

Let’s talk about automation first. Providers of the tools above have sought to optimise elements of the Accounts Payable process. To date, they have primarily done this through automating the most mundane elements of the process, such as invoice capture, queuing payment batches for approval, and so on. Here are some examples:

  1. Coding invoices: Invoices detected by your software can be coded automatically into a database – the values will effectively be suggestions though, and will still need to be checked manually.
  2. Three-way matching: Discrepancies will still need to be resolved manually.
  3. Approvals: Your software might route an invoice directly to the people who need to approve it. They might be able to see outstanding approvals in one thread, and be able to approve with a single tap on a phone app. After that, the financial controller, might receive automatic notification that they need to approve payments – and they can also do this with a single tap.
  4. Batch payments: Once suppliers have been set up in your business bank account, the financial controller’s approval can also trigger a single or bulk payment to those suppliers using Open Banking technology.
  5. Reconciliation: You might also have software that can automatically reconcile the bank statement with the Accounts Payable record using Open Banking technology.

Turning to payments, Accounts Payable software is rarely used when it comes to executing payment. Or at least it’s not used in isolation. Payment operations typically involve looking at a list on one system (e.g. the user’s SME banking app) and manually reconciling it with a list on another system interface (your SaaS accounting product).

It’s a key break point in a platform’s UX. And this is no doubt a contributor to the general fragmentation of the Accounts Payable process and tooling. And that’s not considering the time they work with non-dedicated accounting software, such as spreadsheets. Once you add that into the mix, most Accounts Payable teams are likely jumping between multiple sources of information, multiple times per day. 

To pull together the entire AP process for everyone involved, a platform needs to give its users the following power:

  • Store and move internal cash balances.
  • Allocate cash for budgets and payment needs.
  • Stage, check, approve and execute payments, often forward-dated or in batches.
  • Check the balance of external bank accounts and pull in funds for payments.
  • Orchestrate payments from those accounts without leaving the AP tool.
  • Reconcile completed payments back onto payables and accounts.

These are all functions that embedded finance can bring into AP software.

Currently, many AP platforms can do this:

  • Sort and group payables
  • Manage authorisation processes
  • Deal with tracking and reconciliation after payments are done

However until you embed financial features they cannot:

  • Actually execute payments in your app
  • Connect batch payables into actual batch payments
  • Automatically connect data on payable status awareness and reconcilliation

 

That’s a list that embedded finance can help Accounts Payable platforms achieve. Not only that, according to our research, AP professionals want to pay for the added functionality – more on that later.

Do AP professionals really want payment capabilities within their software?

We asked AP professionals whether they’d value the ability to not just prepare payments but also make them with their AP tools. The answer? 94% of these professionals would like their AP software to be able to execute payments also. Just over two fifths say this ability would be significantly valuable.


Research: “Imagine if your accounting or invoice management software were also able to execute the payments you have prepared. How valuable, if at all, would that be?”

97% of finance professionals use software, and 94% of these professionals would like their AP software to be able to execute payments, not just prepare them. Just over two fifths say this ability would be significantly valuable.

That’s not just a whim. We also gauged these professionals’ propensity to pay more for payment execute and automate payments. The answer was clear: Most (86%) would happily pay more for the privilege.


Research: “To what extent, if at all, would your firm be willing to pay for more of your accounting or invoice management software if it was able to safely and accurately automate payments execution?

So, to which tools are AP professionals turning to make payments?

77% of finance professionals already routinely execute payments using functions integrated with accounting, AP, or procurement tools. And 98% of AP professionals report using alternative payment capabilities as well as – or instead of – traditional business banking. In effect, it’s fair to assume that Open Banking payments are in full flow. However, as we explored above in the limitations of AP software this is not a cure all.

Most platforms that offer payment tools in the AP space currently take an open banking approach. That’s usually because they don’t want to offer new functionality around payments – or because they’ve been told embedded finance is out of reach. However, for reasons that we go into in our embedded finance buyer’s guide, this is no longer the case.

Research: “Other than using your primary business bank account, where, if anywhere, does your team routinely execute outgoing payments for invoices and bills?

98% of Accounts Payable professionals use tools outside of their bank accounts to pay invoices and bills.

A deeper look at how embedded finance speeds up Accounts Payable processes

We’ve identified that some AP tools already offer payments, the capability is in high demand, and we’ve sketched out the two main areas where embedded finance can move AP tools forward. But let’s now take a closer look at the exact processes that embedded finance drastically improves. To begin with, if you remember the AP workflow we started describing at the top of this guide, you’ll remember it included the following:

  1. The AP team receives an invoice from a supplier.
  2. If the supplier is new, the AP team codes the suppliers’ details into some kind of software, as well as their bank’s software.
  3. The AP team codes the invoice into AP software (or a spreadsheet). This process might be automated, in which case the values will simply require approval.
  4. The AP team matches the invoice to a purchase order and delivery note. This process is known as the three-way match. If the organisation is not using purchase orders, the Accounts Payable must match the invoices against more informal agreements, such as supplier prices agreed by email.
  5. The AP team notes any discrepancies with the match and seeks to resolve them. This can be a complicated, drawn-out process in which the purchaser and the supplier might continue to disagree on price.
  6. The AP team prepares a payment run and requests approval to pay. Depending on how the approvals system in the organisation works this might require approval from the original purchaser of the services or goods, as well as final approval from a financial controller
  7. Payment execution. Ideally, this payment will have happened on time, so the supplier will be happy and prepared to do business with the organisation again. 
  8. Reconciliation. Matching the accounting transactions to the correct lines of the bank statement to show which invoices have been paid, by how much and when, and to ensure an invoice is not paid twice.

And as we saw, the workflow was fraught with fractures, requiring AP professionals to use multiple tools, and often veer outside their dedicated tooling to fulfil their role. 

Broadly speaking, the inefficiencies in current Accounts Payable processes look like this:

How embedded finance can improve process inefficiency in Accounts Payable workflows

With embedded finance, Accounts Payable platform providers can enter into a new sandbox – one where they can create a new kind of functionality across the Accounts Payable workflow:

How seamlessly integrated payment execution improves Accounts Payable efficiency

If you’re a platform user, and you have the features above in your platform, you’ll be able to experience the following across the AP workflow:

How you can automate, optimise and reduce risk in supplier payments with embedded finance

Why is Open Banking not (the full) answer to AP payments?

Embedded finance and Open Banking might look similar…

With both embedded finance and Open Banking, the following is true:

  1. Users don’t relinquish control of the cash to the AP/accounting platform. Funding from the external bank account routes into an e-money wallet also owned by the organisation. 
  2. From a supplier’s point of view, the payments are still seen as coming from the purchaser, not the accounting platform.

But that’s where the similarities end

Partly because Open Banking functionality piggy-backs on an actual bank’s functionality. If the user’s bank can’t do it, neither can their accounting software. This leads to gaps in functionality that are typical of the traditional banking system. 

For instance, with Open Banking, execution of payment is still dependent on a single financial controller. Payment runs might need to be made three times a week in a busy company, and when the final authorisation of payment relies on one person it leads to bottlenecks. This one-authorised-person-only system also limits collaboration.

Embedded finance doesn’t have these limitations

Because it’s not tied to a bank, the user experience around cash management and payments can be brought under new logic – logic that matches an accounting platform’s design and purpose.

Not having these limitations means it can include more features. For instance, your AP platform could give AP professionals more autonomy by giving them the power to manage the organisation’s money within strictly defined parameters.

These controls could assign AP users or teams to certain vendors, and add logic based on business rules, such as setting a maximum amount and frequency of payments within a specified period. 
When a transaction took place, financial officers would still see exactly what each transaction was for, and who made it – but what they would not have a notification chasing them to authorise a same-day payment for a disgruntled supplier that is already long-overdue their money.

Can you have both embedded finance and Open Banking functionality?

Yes. While embedded finance provides the better foundation for payment functionality, there are a number of ways Open Banking can add to an embedded finance solution:

  • Open banking can allow businesses to connect their external bank accounts to check balances. This will also make it easier to move funds into the e-money system for the embedded payment workflows to take place.
  • Open banking can allow the accessing of banking data for third-party reference e.g. to help with due diligence and underwriting for a loan application.
  • Open Banking can help with cross-referencing users, limits, and beneficiary data between AP systems and external banking.
  • Securely initiating payments to fund approved bulk payments in external wallets.

Questionnaire for product managers solving AP processes

Is embedded finance the right step for your Accounts Payable platform? If you are a product manager of a platform that has Accounts Payable professionals in their sights, you can ask yourself these questions to get started.

Users and status quo

  • What job titles do your application’s users have?
  • Do SMBs using your application collaborate with external parties e.g. a third-party accounting service?
  • What roles/teams use your application other than the AP/finance team?
  • What are the tools, or categories of tools, commonly used by finance teams – in addition to your application – to accomplish end-to-end business processes around AP and invoice payments?
  • How do the users of your application manage their banking in relation to AP and invoice payments?

Pain points for AP end users

  • Do your users find the number of tools they use for AP a problem?
  • Do your users find the number of collaborators/stakeholders in AP a problem?
  • Where in their AP workflows do finance professionals describe unsolved problems around collaboration, efficiency, and time/cost of processing?
  • Are any of these problem areas also areas addressed by your application, or even unique strengths of your application?

Risk reduction in AP

  • Where do users say errors, or the risk of errors, most commonly arise in their AP workflows?
  • What measures do finance professionals take to reduce or eliminate the risk of error or fraud in their AP workflows?
  • To what extent is your application part of these successful risk mitigations?
  • Where do finance professionals describe unsolved problems around financial controls, fraud risk, or errors in their AP work?
  • To what extent are some of these risks considered out of the scope of your application or hard for you to address?

Payment processing in AP

  • How do finance professionals working on AP in your application describe their current banking arrangements?
  • Other than traditional banking what other methods do SMBs who use your application make payments for bills and invoices?
  • Does your application help users track payment methods and payment statuses, as well as the accounting data about the invoices and payables themselves?
  • Does your application connect with banking or payment tools in order to complete payment steps in AP workflows?
  • How likely are your AP users to consider using payment features which are built into your application?
  • What kinds of integrated payment functionality could be particularly valued by your users?

So what’s it going to be?

If you’re working on a SaaS solution, and if you’re trying to close out the gaps in the Accounts Payable process, you can’t really afford to ignore the findings of our research. Here’s a recap:

Currently, most AP professionals have an incomplete solution:

  • 97% of AP professionals are using software tools to complete the AP process.
  • Of that 97%, only 15% do this with a single tool. Most use two or three.
  • Fewer than 1% complete more than 80% of the AP process using those tools.

This results in gaps, frustrations and limitations:

  • Over a fifth of professionals say manual data import or export is still the top frustration that causes delays.
  • Only 4% of finance professionals say they never worry about significant human error risks when working on bulk payments.

But there’s an opportunity for platform providers to step in:

  • 94% of AP professionals (of the 97% that use software) would like their AP software to be able to execute payments, not just prepare them. 
  • Most of them (86%) would happily pay more for the privilege.
  • The majority of finance professionals are eager to get new features from their AP software, such as:
    • The ability to see all current balances across all company payment accounts in one place.
    • The ability to batch up payments and approve/execute in bulk.
    • Pre-filled details for bank payments that lock down the correct payee and amount.
    • Shared dashboards to keep all AP stakeholders on the same page.
    • Automation of reconciliation between completed payments and invoice statuses.
86% of Accounts Payable respondents would be willing to pay more to make payments from within the accounts payable or cloud accounting applications, should it be made available to them

As we’ve explored, these are issues that process automation and Open Banking can partially solve, but with embedded finance, a far more complete solution becomes possible. A solution that might finally give AP professionals a reason to collaborate with one tool rather than many, or to use a single screen rather than three, or to rest easy, knowing that – at long last – they no longer have to worry so much about manual error. To explore our Accounts Payable solution please visit our solutions page for Embedded Payment Run.


If you have questions about how embedded finance could impact your platform, check out our embedded finance buyer’s guide or speak to an expert from Weavr.


More about the research conducted in October 2023

250 respondents from UK finance/accounting professionals

  • 16% of company directors or owners
  • 58% senior managers / senior professionals
  • 20% middle or junior managers/executives
  • The remaining 6% were more junior (e.g. graduate entry-level)

Most respondents (68%) were from medium-sized businesses with 100-500 employees.