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Expert Knowledge on Digitalization & Automation of Business Processes

xSuite Blog

Expert Knowledge on Digitalization & Automation of Business Processes

Survey Results: Accounts Payable Invoice Automation 2022

Topic: SAP

Survey Results: Accounts Payable Invoice Automation 2022


In June, we invited our customers who use SAP to participate in the “Accounts Payable Invoice Automation 2022” survey. This article gives an overview of the key findings.

Invoice Formats: PDF Is the #1 Choice – XML Is on the Rise

PDF has clearly emerged as the predominant format. 83% of the companies surveyed currently receive at least half of their invoices in this format. This is a significant increase compared with 2019 – back then, only 48% received at least half of their invoices as PDF files.

The XML format is also gaining traction. 57% of respondents said they receive a certain proportion (up to 20%) of their invoices in XML format. Here, the increase has been even more pronounced: In 2019, only 6% stated that they were receiving XML invoices at all.

The rise of PDF and XML comes at the expense of paper-based invoices. For decades, paper invoices were the gold standard. Today, just a little over one-fifth (22%) of respondents say that they receive more than half of their invoices as hardcopy documents.

Good Intentions and S/4HANA

When we asked our customers in 2019 when they were planning to migrate from SAP ERP to SAP S/4HANA, the majority stated they would make the shift by 2023 at the latest. A small proportion (8%) had already transitioned, while 20% planned to make the switch in 2020/21, and 25% had set themselves the target of 2022/23. So a total of 53% were planning to be using S/4HANA by next year at the latest.

However, for many companies this plan apparently did not come to fruition. Looking at this year’s replies, only 20% expect they will have completed the migration to S/4HANA by 2023 at the latest. Many (41%) are now aiming for 2024/25.

Controversial Cloud

As part of the survey, we wanted to know from our customers whether they would consider using a cloud-based AP automation solution. In 2019, the largest group (49%) was still undecided on this topic. Today, both cloud supporters (from 10% to 25%) and cloud opponents (from 32% to 45%) have increased.

Do these figures provide insight into the acceptance of SAP’s cloud offerings? Not only did we ask our customers when they wanted to switch to S/4HANA, but we also inquired about their preferred deployment model. Just under a third (32%) replied they want to operate S/4HANA on-premises, as before. 19% plan to opt for a cloud solution (incl. hosting in an external data center). At 49%, however, a very large share of respondents are still undecided. Things are still very much in motion and only time will tell!

Lead Times, MM Share, Background Postings

Another focus of our survey was on processes in procurement and accounting departments. All results on questions such as lead times, MM share and background postings can be found in the white paper presenting the Accounts Payable Invoice Automation 2022 survey results.




Dina Haack is Head of Marketing at xSuite Group. She has been at home in the B2B software industry for around 10 years. At xSuite in Ahrensburg, her main topics are: SAP-integrated invoice processing, electronic invoices and automation.

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