Topic: procure to pay

The Current State of AP Automation

July 26, 2017

In today’s AP world, fully automated accounts payable solutions provide visibility for cash management, forecasting, spend management, long-term planning, and budgeting.

Large companies are figuring out these benefits and cost savings of automating their accounts payable process. While small businesses are following suit, are they doing enough? To break down the current state of AP automation, we’ve put together an infographic for you to see how AP automation is being used and how it can benefit your business.

How AP Automation Makes Life Easier for IT

July 19, 2017

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, IT plays a big role in accounts payable automation projects.

Lack of internal IT resources is one of the biggest barriers preventing organizations from automating their invoice processing, per the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM).  

This is no surprise when you consider that 60 percent of the average IT department’s time is spent “keeping the lights on,” Accenture reports.  Activities such as user support, system upkeep, and security and compliance leave no time for onerous system implementations and integrations.  

The integration of an accounts payable solution with legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) and general ledger (GL) platforms is especially daunting for organizations with scant IT resources.

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!