Automation makes invoice processing less costly, faster, more accurate, more transparent, and less risky. But choosing the wrong accounts payable solution undermines the benefits of automation.
Not to worry. Choosing a stellar system is easy if you follow these seven steps:
- Set your objectives: Creating short-term and long-term goals is the first step in selecting an accounts payable solution. Common automation objectives include: eliminating paper handling and manual keying; reducing labor costs; accelerating cycle times; enhancing visibility into the status of invoices; and better integrating accounts payable with downstream systems. Setting these objectives keeps the evaluation team focused on what’s important.
- Clearly define the processing requirements: It also is important to develop functional requirements before diving into technology evaluations. Start by performing a thorough analysis of the total volume of invoices and payables documents your department processes each month, the types of accounts payable documents that need to be captured and processed, and the processing that needs to be performed as part of the process. Then look at any staff that needs to participate in approval, posting and exceptions processes and their functional responsibilities. Be sure to involve front-line staff in developing the functional requirements, and solicit feedback from stakeholders, such as procurement and treasury, to avoid functional silos and to ensure that their needs are met. If you are using a request for proposals as part of your evaluation, resist the temptation to haphazardly include a laundry list of questions.