80% of workers go to office amidst lockdown to process invoices: survey

This is despite the support of their workplaces towards paperless initiatives (77.8%) and remote working (66.8%).

Majority or 80% of employees in Singapore still go to their workplace during the lockdown to manually process invoices despite “overwhelming” reported support of their workplaces for paperless initiatives and remote working, according to a market research by contact management solution provider, Sansan.

The survey commissioned by Sansan and undertaken by Rakuten involved 400 employees whose responsibilities included handling invoices from external parties, mostly in the operations/business planning department (21.5%), accounting (17%), and finance (10.8%).

Sansan said in a media release dated 12 July that one of the key challenges for employees involved in invoice processing, amidst the move for paperless operations as part of digital transformation, is converting files from physical to digital format and vice versa.

Around 52.8% said invoices received electronically had to be printed out, whilst 66.3% had to scan paper invoices and convert them to electronic files. Invoices (79.8%) were viewed as the top priority for going paperless, followed by receipts (59.5%), and contracts (48%).

“Our research points to a clear need in the market for a single cloud solution that allows businesses — whether they are sending or receiving invoices online or offline — to submit both paper and digital formats to a single address, at which the invoices are automatically processed and stored in the cloud,” Edward Senju, regional CEO of Sansan, said.

Senju said a physical postal address for paper invoices and email address for digital PDFs “would be the most comprehensive solution to address this nationwide challenge.”

“Such a solution would save companies substantial time and costs, while also reducing the need for employees to go to their workplace during Covid lockdowns, potentially exposing themselves and others to infection. All of this would further serve to support the efforts of the Singapore government’s paperless initiatives on e-invoicing, as spearheaded by the Infocomm Media Development Authority,” he said.

The survey also said that with the average volume of monthly invoices processed by each employee, more than 218 hours every month were spent on invoice processing, including converting format, which can be “an inadvertent avoidable but cause of workplace stress” among 36.5% of those surveyed, with a little over half of them saying they usually need to act on these as soon as they come in. This need to act on them quickly was also cited as a source of stress (60%), Sansan said.

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