User satisfaction with accounts payable bookkeeping solutions

Kano Questionnaire: Getting Customers Excited about Automated Bookkeeping and Accounts Payable

| | Research Associate, Fraunhofer IAO
Kano questionnaire: what features do users get excited about in their accounts payable software?

How satisfied are customers with their accounts payable software solution? How do customer expectations match up with their digital incoming invoice solutions? What core features do customers get excited about? Read on to discover the results of a recent survey based on the Kano model by FRAUNHOFER IAO and SEEBURGER AG.

The world is going digital, and that means changes. As businesses undergo digital transformation, their current business models will start turning into value creation structures. There will be whole new ways for companies, organisations and systems to communicate and collaborate. One example is the way in which bookkeeping is going digital. It is no secret that automating the bookkeeping for your accounts payables through electronic invoices (e-invoices) is complex to introduce as it affects systems, organisation and processes along the entire chain. However, digitalising this process is so beneficial for a company. The challenge facing providers of e-invoicing solutions is to keep their products innovative, with a growing range of functions and services to stay competitive.

And this is where Kano comes in. SEEBURGER AG and FRAUNHOFER IAO joined forces to conduct a Kano questionnaire focusing on the digitalisation of incoming invoices. The goal was to measure and ‛quantify’ customer satisfaction with various core features in an automated accounts payable solution. From January to June 2021, 165 organisations took part in the survey.

Kano is a powerful tool for comparing the features and functions of an incoming invoice solution with customers’ expectations for such a product. A step which may seem trivial at first glance – categorising features as threshold, performance and excitement attributes – is particularly significant. This helps you see which core functions customers really get excited about.

A Kano questionnaire shows that the individual features and functions of a product have varying influence on customer satisfaction. If those features classified as threshold attributes are missing from a product, this automatically leads to customer dissatisfaction. These attributes therefore need to be identified and included as standard in an automated bookkeeping solution so that the provider hasn’t lost against his competitors in advance. On the other hand, threshold attributes alone are not going to attract customers. For that, you need at least some performance attributes, and ideally also excitement attributes.

From a customer’s perspective, the survey conducted by SEEBURGER and FRAUNHOFER IAO helps identify which functions and features are indispensable when choosing an incoming invoice solution to also ensure it is accepted by employees. Employee acceptance is half the battle in successfully implementing a new solution. The survey shows that if apparently banal features such as online help is missing from the product, this leads to high user dissatisfaction. On the other hand, some features such as EDI processing – despite the digitalisation wave rolling over Germany at the moment – is less important for a purchase-to-pay solution. If you want to be sure you’re not backing the wrong horse, consider the results of the top 15 purchase-to-pay features from the Kano survey and their importance in terms of employee satisfaction and dissatisfaction when selecting an incoming invoice solution.


Download your own copy of the German-language study evaluation of the core features of incoming invoice processing  (original title: „Evaluierung der Kernfeatures einer Eingangsrechnungsverarbeitung“).

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Mirjana Stanišić-Petrović

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Mirjana Stanišić-Petrović is a research associate at Fraunhofer IAO. There she works in the “IT and Software Management” team and is deputy head of the IAO Center for “Document and Workflow Management”. Her area of ​​responsibility includes the management and implementation of projects in the fields of corporate software (document and workflow management, invoice processing, enterprise resource planning, etc.), digitization, service management, master data management and business process management. The projects are from the field of research as well as from the industrial sector, with public service providers as well as manufacturing companies being among the customers. Ms. Mirjana Stanišić-Petrović is the author and co-author of numerous books and publications.