Taking Automated AP Services Past That First Client

September 18, 2020

The Opportunity in AP Services for Firms

Firms often start offering AP services for a single client—that one client asked, so the firm
sets them up for manual or automated bill pay services. Sound familiar? All too often, that’s also where the service stops. The same firm will wait for another client to ask and react to that request. But that leaves a tremendous market opportunity open for other firms to fill.
 
The AP automation market size in 2019 was estimated to be USD 1.9 billion, according to
Markets and Markets, and expected to grow to 3.1 billion by 2024. If you connect those
dots with those that estimate the US B2B payments market to be worth USD 23.1 trillion
(according to Deloitte and finextra.com), it’s clear to see that there’s a huge opportunity here for accounting firms.
 
Simply put, AP represents a raging new revenue stream—one that’s largely untapped by the accounting profession. In a recent survey we ran with CPA.com and Hinge Research, bill pay was one of the highest valued services from clients who buy accounting services, but only one-third of  accountants offered it. Accounting clients have also reported that a key reason they fire or stop referring a firm is because that firm isn’t offering proactive services and going above and beyond
for their clients. In today’s times, for businesses that are trying to pivot quickly, every step toward real-time data and managing cash flow has the potential to make or break their success.
 
Bill pay is squarely in a firm’s wheelhouse, offering an opportunity to provide clients with
data-driven, advisory-based services.

But how do you get there? How do firm leaders claim their piece of the AP pie? In a word, automation. Automating the AP process ushers in unprecedented levels of efficiency, allowing
accounting firms to build a highly scalable and profitable service that business clients both need and want. This guide will walk you through the opportunity in AP services, how to launch a new bill pay service, and how to shift your conversations with clients to help them understand the value in it for their bottom line.
 
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