Strategic Treasurer

Survey Shows a Strong Movement Toward Fully Electronic for Accounts Payable

Only 20% are highly automated, but efficiency, error reduction, and control/security drive adoption

Atlanta, GA] June 29, 2021 — Today, Strategic Treasurer and Deluxe release the results of the Modernizing AP Processing Survey. Results show an overall push toward modernization – from a strong desire to move to full automation to a movement to outsourcing – with some areas of reservation.

The survey’s questions probed AP departments about their practices, perspectives and plans, focusing on technological use and adoption. Details were gathered about pain points, drivers, blockers, format preferences, outsourcing and many other factors in AP modernization.

Among the top findings were the following points:

  • Strong Desire to Move to Fully Electronic. Seventy-two percent of respondents saw this as important or very important. This desire is strong enough to prompt changes in bank relationships, with 41 percent stating that they would be willing to move banks outside their credit facility for automation, and 28 percent stating that they would be willing to move services to a non-credit bank.
  • AP Moving to Outsourcing and Hybrid Models. The future plans of AP departments are showing a notable shift away from in-sourcing for tasks such as payment file generation, invoice receipt processing and vendor master record management. Both pure outsourcing and hybrid in-source/outsource models are seeing high levels of anticipated growth in these areas.
  • Human-Readable Remittance Information Still Dominates.While XML is on track to overtake EDI within two years, formats that can be easily interpreted by humans still dominate all digital formats for transmitting remittance information. Email is used by 56 percent and PDF by 47 percent, while EDI and XML are used by 36 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

The Modernizing AP Processing Survey ran from March through May 2021, with 50+ questions and 150+ respondents. More extensive results from the survey are available via a downloadable report, an infographic and a webinar today, Tuesday, June 29th, at 2:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time. The webinar features Craig Jeffery of Strategic Treasurer and Chris Clausen from Deluxe. Replays will be available on Strategic Treasurer’s website following the event.

Those interested in further results and analysis from the 2021 Modernizing AP/AR Processing Survey Report can download the results and view a recorded webinar, hosted by Deluxe and Strategic Treasurer, analyzing the results of this report here:

Strategic Treasurer

Strategic Treasurer

Strategic Treasurer provides consulting services for treasury management, security, technology and compliance. Corporate clients, banks and fintech providers throughout the world rely on their advisory services and industry-leading research. Strategic Treasurer is headquartered in Atlanta, with consultants based out of Atlanta, Cleveland, and Detroit. To learn more, visit

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Deluxe, a Trusted Payments and Business Technology™ company, helping businesses pay, get paid, optimize and grow. For more than 100 years, Deluxe has championed businesses so communities thrive at all stages of their lifecycle, from start-up to maturity. Our powerful solutions support millions of small businesses, thousands of financial institutions and hundreds of the world’s most valuable brands. The company operates at significant scale, processing more than $2.8 trillion in annual payment volume. To learn how we can help your business, visit us at, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, and on Twitter.