Invoicing is an essential process in any business. It's how you pay for what you need to run your business and how you get paid for your products or services. Establishing accurate and efficient invoicing processes keeps your cash flow moving and ensures no penny is wasted.

This guide explains the latest in invoice processing by exploring 39 invoicing statistics, including how invoices are processed, the insights of accounts payable and receivable teams, and the impacts of invoice automation.

General Invoicing Statistics

This first section covers some of the most pertinent invoicing statistics. We'll break down how many invoices businesses process per month, the average processing time, the percentage of paper and electronic invoices, data entry methods, and more.

Most businesses handle 500 invoices each month.

Running a business requires numerous paid transactions daily, each requiring a separate invoice. Those individual invoices add up quickly; almost half of all businesses (48%) handle up to 500 invoices each month.

66% of businesses say processing invoices takes up more than five days per month.

With so many invoices coming in and out, most businesses spend at least five days processing invoices each month.

Only about half of invoices (52%) are received electronically.

Despite the large number of invoices, only just over half are received electronically. The rest are paper invoices that need to be physically sorted, entered, and filed, adding additional steps to the project management process.

37% of businesses send out paper invoice receipts.

Along with invoices, 37% of businesses also use paper invoice receipts, adding to the paperwork load of accounts receivable and accounts payable teams — and the mail costs for businesses.

57% of invoice data is entered manually.

Paper invoices are often entered into accounting software, but even the best software requires a significant amount of manual entry. On average, 57% of invoice data has to be entered manually.

Almost half of all businesses require two to three people to approve an invoice.

After data entry, waiting for invoice approval is often one of the slowest steps in invoice processing. For most businesses, the wait is prolonged by the need for multi-level approval: 49% of businesses require two to three people to approve an invoice. A surprising 22% require six or more.

11% of customers never receive their invoices.

Despite the best efforts of accounting departments, such a large volume of invoices is inevitably difficult to keep up with. On average, 11% of customers never receive their invoices. Not only does this slow the payment process, but it also requires more work and money to follow up with customers and re-process invoices.

Invoicing Automation Statistics

As the business world embraces digitization and artificial intelligence, accounts payable and accounts receivable are eager to improve functionality through automation. This section will look at statistics related to invoicing automation and automated accounting systems.

71% of people believe increased automation will be the biggest e-invoicing trend of 2023.

Automation is slowly making its way into every aspect of business, and 71% of people believe invoice automation will be the biggest invoicing trend of 2023. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), which upgrades manual paper invoicing to automated transactions, is one example of how businesses can save time and avoid errors.

Only 5% of accounts payable teams have a fully automated process for handling invoices and payments.

While automation can streamline workflow, only 5% of accounts payable teams have fully automated invoice and payment processing. Teams could significantly cut their labor costs if they used software to automate these tasks.

For example, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platforms can help businesses integrate aspects like purchasing, sales, and finance into a single system, streamlining these processes to save time and money.

26% of businesses are working to have a fully automated invoice processing system by 2024.

Though just a handful of businesses have fully-automated systems, 26% are working toward fully automated invoice processing. Most businesses hope to reach full automation by 2024.

Invoice approvals are the most commonly automated task among accounts payable.

Many businesses have partially automated invoicing systems. Among them, 41% have automated invoice approvals, the most common automated task for accounts payable.

Number of people needed to approve an invoice

Invoicing Statistics by Business Size

The size of a business can have a significant impact on business processes. Small-business owners and employees often fulfill many roles within a company, from bookkeeper to CFO, while larger businesses can keep departments more defined and focused. In this section, we'll look at invoice statistics by business size. For these statistics, business size is defined as follows:

  • Small to medium-sized enterprise (SME): less than 100 employees with annual revenue that falls within the parameters set by the Small Business Administration.
  • Mid-market: 100 to 499 employees or $10 million to less than $50 million in annual gross sales.
  • Enterprise: more than 1,000 employees and $50 million or more in gross receipts.

SMEs give out the highest percentage of paper invoice receipts.

Forty-eight percent of SMEs use paper invoice receipts, the highest percentage of any company size. Only 22% of enterprise businesses use paper receipts.

Commonly automated tasks by accounts payable

42% of SMEs send out invoice receipts by email.

Another 42% of SMEs use email for invoice receipts, again the highest percentage of any company size. Mid-market (38%) and enterprise (37%) businesses also use email receipts regularly.

Percentage of paper invoices

86% of SMEs enter invoice data manually.

While nearly half of SMEs use email invoices, almost all rely heavily on manual entry: 86% manually enter invoice data. Many mid-market businesses do as well (65%), as do 22% of enterprise businesses.

Percentage of emailed invoices

65% of enterprises have automatic invoice data entry.

Manual entry is the standard for SMEs, but automatic entry is the standard for enterprises. Over half of all enterprises (65%) have automated invoice data entry. Only 27% of mid-market and 14% of SMEs have automated entry.

Stats: companies manually entering invoice data

Enterprises are the most likely to require six or more people to approve an invoice.

Most businesses require just two to three people to approve an invoice, but enterprise businesses can require many more. More than a quarter of businesses that need six or more invoice approvers (29%) are enterprises.

Stats: companies automating invoice data

Enterprises are the most likely to take three to four weeks to approve an invoice.

It takes most businesses two to seven days to approve an invoice, but 9% of enterprise businesses take three weeks or more. This length of time could be due to the large number of enterprises that require six or more people to approve an invoice.

Number of people needed to approve an invoice, by company size

Accounts Payable Statistics

Accounts payable is one of the busiest departments in any business. This section looks at statistics regarding accounts payable teams and their insights into the invoicing process.

There are over 378,750 accounts payable specialists in the United States.

As crucial components to both growing and large businesses, over 378,750 accounts payable specialists are employed in the United States.

79% of accounts payable associates are women, and 21% are men.

Women dominate the invoicing industry: 79% of accounts payable associates are women, while just 21% are men.

The average age of an accounts payable associate is 51 years old.

Accounts payable associates have a fairly high median age, averaging 51 years old.

Invoice approvals taking too long is the top challenge for accounts payable teams.

Accounts payable teams face many challenges during the invoicing process. The two biggest issues are slow invoice approvals (47%) and the high number of exceptions to invoicing standards (45%).

Chart: average duration to improve an invoice

The main consequences of slow invoicing were stress among accounts payable teams and damaging supplier relationships.

A slow invoice process creates considerable stress for accounts payable teams. It also damages supplier relationships and delays the delivery of much-needed goods and services.

The top priority for accounts payable teams is to improve reporting and data analytics.

To reduce stress, 48% of accounts payable teams want improved reporting and data analytics. Another 41% want to launch invoice automation, which would allow them to send invoice notifications automatically.

Poll: Top challenges for accounts payable teams

Only 56% of accounts payable teams currently use electronic payments.

Businesses process dozens to hundreds of invoices per month, but just over half of all accounts payable teams use digital payments like credit cards.

Survey: Top priorities for accounts payable teams

Nearly one-third of accounts payable teams plan to adopt electronic invoicing within the next 12-24 months.

Many accounts payable teams currently rely on paper. In fact, 77% of teams still rely on document scanning as a standard practice. However, one-third plan to adopt e-invoicing within the next one to two years.

Survey: Strategies used by accounts payable teams

Accounts payable teams spend an average of 1-5 hours each month responding to invoice and payment requests.

Clear and effective communication is important for any accounts payable team, as they often help facilitate the relationship between a business and its suppliers. Almost half of all teams spend one to five hours per month responding to invoice requests. Another 25% spend six to 10 hours, and 8% spend more than 20.

Survey: future strategies of accounts payable teams

An average accounts payable clerk can process five manual invoices per hour at an average rate of one invoice per 12 minutes.

Accounts payable teams spend the vast majority of their time on data entry. It takes one clerk an average of 12 minutes to manually process a single invoice.

Accounts Receivable Statistics

Accounts receivable is the department that deposits a business's hard-earned money into the bank. This section will take a quick look at accounts receivable teams.

There are over 515,368 accounts receivable specialists in the United States.

Responsible for collecting money owed to a business, 515,368 accounts receivable specialists work in the U.S. They coordinate with accounts payable specialists and clients, making sure that payments are received and correct.

82% of accounts receivable specialists are women, and 18% are men.

As in accounts payable, women far outnumber men on accounts receivable teams: 82% are women, compared to just 18% who are men.

The average age of an accounts receivable specialist is 45 years old.

Accounts receivable specialists have an average age of 45 — a bit younger than their accounts payable counterparts, who average 51 years old.

Top challenges for accounts receivable teams

Automation and late payment management are the top challenges for accounts receivable teams.

As businesses turn to artificial intelligence to streamline their invoicing processes, accounts receivable teams' two primary struggles are process automation and late payment management. This involves balancing customer relations with ensuring on-time payments, which might include effective communication about payment terms.

Chart: Time spent responding to payment requests

All teams in real estate report spending over 7 hours a week on accounts receivable tasks.

Accounts receivable professionals working in real estate all tend to spend at least seven hours a week on invoicing. Meanwhile, those working in staffing and recruiting, retail, and management consulting all spent less than seven hours per week.

Time spent on paying invoices, by industry

Late Invoice Statistics

One of the biggest challenges for accounting departments is managing late invoice payments. This section looks at statistics relating to late invoices and overdue payments.

39% of invoices are paid late in the United States.

As businesses struggle to keep up with invoices, delays often bleed over into payment processing. In the U.S., 39% of invoices are paid late.

61% of late payments are due to incorrect invoices.

The delay of payments is most often caused by invoice errors, which need to be corrected and rebilled before payment can be rendered. Incorrect invoices account for 61% of late payments.

87% of businesses get their invoices paid after the due date.

On-time payment seems rare for businesses these days. Delays and errors are so prevalent in the invoicing process that 87% of businesses receive their invoice payments after the due date.

35% of invoices are paid more than 30 days after the invoice due date.

Just how late are most late payments? While 52% are only two weeks late or less, 35% are more than 30 days past due.

How long does it take companies to pay invoices?

Companies with more than 500 employees are the most likely to receive late invoice payments.

Late invoice payments are especially problematic for larger companies with more than 500 employees: 28% of invoice payments received by large companies are more than 30 days late, compared to just 8-19% for small to medium-sized businesses.

Chart: Larger companies pay their invoices slowest

Streamlining the Invoicing Process

Invoicing is an essential, time-sensitive process for every business. Accounting teams handle up to 500 invoices per month, half of which are paper invoices that need to be physically sorted, entered, and filed. The large volume of paperwork leads to a high rate of invoice errors, lost invoices, and late payments.

The good news is that digitization and automation are finally reaching accounts payable and receivable departments. Skynova can help streamline your business's invoicing process with free e-invoice templates that help save processing time and reduce errors. Our industry-tailored online templates enable you to deliver invoices in seconds. Try Skynova's online invoice template today and get digital payments faster.

Fair Use Statement

Working to improve the functionality of your invoicing process? We encourage you to share these invoicing statistics for any noncommercial use. Please include a link to this page so readers can access our complete findings and methodology.