The Latest AP and Procure-to-Pay News

7 Steps to Choosing a Stellar Accounts Payable Solution

July 12, 2017

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:

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 

AP Automation: Making Procurement Stark Raving Fans of Your Systems

July 05, 2017

The procurement and accounts payable functions at most businesses have traditionally operated as silos. But the functions are becoming more closely aligned as businesses look for ways to improve control over spending, strengthen contract compliance, and gain leverage in supplier negotiations.

As a result, procurement has become a strong ally in the accounts payable department’s automation efforts. Procurement benefits from accounts payable automation in three important ways:

The 7-Steps to Building a Winning Business Case for AP Automation

July 05, 2017

Despite the promise of full automation, most accounts payable departments are overrun with paper invoices and payables documents, and still employ manual and semi-automated processes for managing them. 

Accounts payable departments cite several factors for their manual and semi-automated processes, including a lack of IT resources, small capital budgets, a lack of resources to manage a system deployment, and no senior-level champion for accounts payable automation. 

But the top reason that accounts payable departments remain stuck with these inefficient processes is that they do not know how to develop a business case for automation that will win over the C-Suite. In fact, studies show that the C-Level Executives (CEO, CFO, COO) recognize the challenges with processing supplier invoices in a manual or semi-automated environment, and are willing to spend more money to address them – they just need to be sold on the idea!

Procure-to-Pay: There’s an App for That!

June 28, 2017

Smartphones and tablets are an increasingly popular way for consumers to buy and sell goods. But they’re not alone. Accounts payable departments are getting in on the act.

More accounts payable departments are deploying mobile applications that deliver consumer-style interfaces and easy-to-use functions for automating the procure-to-pay cycle.

Get your Spending Under Control with Full Automation

June 21, 2017

With strong revenue growth remaining elusive for many companies, businesses are taking a hard look at their spending to increase profit margins and net income. Poor spend visibility makes it difficult for businesses to effectively control costs, ensure budget compliance and eliminate maverick spending, negotiate with suppliers, comply with contracts, and achieve competitive advantage. 

Thirty-percent of senior finance executives would like their organization to be more focused on analyzing spending, Oxford Economics reports. Forty-eight percent of those surveyed say that percent of total spend under management is a valuable metric to their organization.  

But spend management remains elusive for many businesses, largely because manual or semi-automated payables systems make it difficult to access critical spending information such as: