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The results are in: Accounts Payable working styles of 2021

Aug 2021

The results are in: Accounts Payable working styles of 2021

Accounts Payable Working Styles

Accounts Payable Pioneer Accounts Payable Driver Accounts Payable Integrator Accounts Payable Guardian


Adaptable, innovative and energetic, Pioneers value possibilities and don’t accept the status quo


Technical, quantitative and logical, Drivers value challenge and create momentum


Empathetic, diplomatic and relationship -focused, Integrators like to bring people together


Practical, detail-oriented and rigorous, Guardians love stability and the status quo

Images above sourced from UltimateArm via www.flaticon.com 

It’s hard to believe, with 8 billion of us on the planet, that we could all boil down to four working styles. But Deloitte has identified four key working style types: Pioneers, Drivers, Integrators or Guardians. 

We wanted to know how this translates to the Accounts Payable sector. And what that tells us about the evolution of AP as a discipline. So we’ve been running a survey – inspired by Deloitte’s Business Chemistry framework – to see. With 200 respondents and counting, here’s the trend emerging so far.


Pioneers dominate the Accounts Payable sector 

Adaptable and energetic Pioneers make up more than half of our respondents. Never happy with the status quo, they’re firm believers that everything can be improved. They’re more interested in discovering why something CAN work, than hearing why it can’t. This makes them great at driving forward new ideas and projects. 

In our survey, Pioneers identified themselves as ‘creative and adaptable’. Unsurprisingly, they rated manual work (such as statement reconciliation and vendor file clean up) as the least enjoyable part of their job but were excited by the prospect of new projects and technologies. Their favourite thing about working in AP is being challenged to think outside the box to find solutions to problems. 

Read more about the Pioneer type on the Deloitte website


Drivers are the next biggest group  

Challenge-loving AP Drivers make up another quarter of our respondents. They thrive on having a task at hand and getting stuff done. Focused and competitive, momentum-making Drivers get results. And they get them by planning a route and sticking to it. They’re great to have in a busy team because they’re so damn effective. When a Driver is in the zone, they’re really in the zone, so do not disturb until they’re done! 

In our survey, Drivers show their independent side. When we asked what they’d do if they were struggling, they said they’d research the problem online and solve it themselves. Their least favourite part of the job seems to be dealing with supplier queries – not surprising from determined Drivers who like to get things done with minimal deviation from their plan.

Read more about the Driver type on the Deloitte website


Next come the Integrators

Relationship-nurturing Integrators make up the next 13% of our respondents. They value making connections – between people, teams and ideas – and using their people skills to make something bigger than the sum of its parts. Putting their head down and working alone just isn’t their thing. Considered and respectful, Integrators put a lot of thought into their decision-making to come up with the right solution. 

In our survey, Integrators said they didn’t like working from home. They’re sociable souls who like to surround themselves with others, so that’s not a big surprise. Nor is the fact that, when it comes to processes and problem solving, Integrators like to discuss things with their team. Although working with colleagues is one of their favourite things about project work, what they regard most highly is delivering value and sharing recognition with their team.  

Read more about the Integrator type on the Deloitte website


Finally, we have Accounts Payable Guardians 

Organised, order-loving AP Guardians make up the smallest proportion of our respondents. Guardians thrive on stability and it takes a lot for them to challenge the status quo. They’re all about getting things done well. And if something ain’t broke, they say don’t fix it. Methodical, disciplined and meticulous, there’s a lot to like about these detail-focused colleagues. But don’t expect them to jump on the latest innovation without a lot (we mean a LOT!) of careful consideration. 

In our survey, Guardians were more likely to ask questions and seek reassurance than other work style types. If new technology is on the cards, Guardians were more likely to ask ‘Have you done the research and considered the implications?’

Read more about the Guardian type on the Deloitte website



The Xelix product is built to suit all the AP working styles. Xelix empowers pioneers to make huge improvements, enables drivers to hit maximum efficiency, whilst helping integrators to demonstrate the value AP has, at the same time as ensuring every last details is covered for Guardians.

To learn more about what we do, head to our homepage.

Want to find out which working style you’ve got?

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