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Optimizing Accounts Payable: Don’t Stop at Automation

Optimizing Accounts Payable: Don’t Stop at Automation

Accounts Payable Automation.

If you’re familiar with the ERP space, you might think of it as a reliable way for enterprise organizations with massive invoice volume to clean up their back office. If you’re like most in the ERP space, chances are you aren’t thinking about it at all. 

While it’s historically true that AP Invoice Automation has brought the largest return on investment for companies with a vast amounts of invoice processing, advances in automation tools alongside expert implementation has transformed it into a viable option for any organization looking to streamline AP. With these changes in mind, we’ll discuss the different types of organizations that might consider AP Automation and what they can expect to achieve from doing so. 

Understanding Your Organization’s Accounts Payable Process:

First off, it’s important to develop a thorough grasp of how your organization works with Accounts Payable. You’ll want to consider metrics such as the volume of invoices you process per month, whether a single or multiple ERP solutions are being implemented, and the geographic reach of your AP processing. Larger organizations that operate on a global scale will face challenges around scalability and regional compliance, and may need to consider integration aspects if working with multiple ERP solutions. While global enterprise companies tend to see larger cost savings more easily due to the sheer volume of invoices, implementation at scale brings its own complexity. For companies considering an AP solution across different regions or ERPs, securing a support team with global reach and multilingual consultants can vastly simplify the process.

Companies who operate on a smaller scale will need to evaluate similar metrics, but with a larger emphasis on individuals in your organization and their roles. The primary challenges for these types of organizations are more people-centered, as the success of an AP solution will depend on how well it integrates with the existing legacy solution – rather than the statutory and scalable nature of enterprise challenges. These small and medium sized businesses should be looking primarily to reduce the workload on what is often an already over-worked AP team. As such, gathering information on the team working with AP and their existing practices can help identify their pain points to emphasize when crafting a solution.

What You Should Expect from Your AP Solution:

Knowing what to expect from changes to your AP process can help shape the timeline and roadmap for your project. AP Solutions have come a long way from simply automating the invoice process, and a host of different benefits are available – but it’s best to identify which are most valuable to you. 

Improvement in AP tools has pushed optimization beyond simply automation, to the point where organizations are actually seeing their AP turn from a Cost to a Profit Center – a product of innovative savings strategies like early-payment discounts. While the biggest margins for cost and time savings will always be a function of the number of invoices, not all benefits are dependent on invoice volume. Any businesses can benefit from increased visibility over their AP workflow, for example. With real-time dashboards and reports available, managers are able to understand when their AP resources are over-allocated, collect metrics on average processing time, and utilize these analytics to expedite processes like audits. Using your existing data to optimize processes is the crux of all analytics – and there’s no reason to leave AP out of the mix. 

AP transformation is a guided journey. There are multiple areas of improvements businesses can embrace based on their needs and feasibility. If you’re considering a change to your AP process, you may also want to consider a support team. Working with experienced consultants can help you quickly identify what type of organization you are and what types of changes are feasible.