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Easiest Path to AP Automation - Step-By-Step Accounts Payable Guide

Use this accounts payable guide to learn the easiest path to AP automation by choosing workflow software for the automation of business processes.

When work at home mandates were issued during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, many companies struggled to support remote workers, make supplier payments on-time, reduce fraud, and avoid late charges. Businesses that already adopted cloud AP automation had a distinct advantage during these challenging times. Instead of scrambling to support remote workers, companies seamlessly handled payments and maintained control of the overall financial picture.

Companies with AP automation and automation of business processes can weather nearly any disruptive storm with flexible collaboration and cost-effective operations. Discover the advantages of accounts payable workflow software and learn how easy it can be for companies to adopt this automation with this step-by-step accounts payable guide to automating.

Get the C-Suite On Board 

It is crucial for the AP team to understand the benefits of AP automation to get buy-in from stakeholders such as management and the C-suite. The AP team can focus on ineffective manual processes that are holding the business back. Mention the advantages of cloud automation, and how quickly management will realize an ROI. Benefits of adopting AP automation include:

  • Save time
  • Reduce costs
  • Minimize fraud
  • Support remote workers
  • Streamline processes
  • Increased accuracy

Additionally, AP automation gives greater visibility and control over the greater financial picture. Manual processes that once took days or weeks to complete are done in just seconds with cloud AP automation. Companies can take advantage of early payment discounts and improve supplier relationships by automating accounts payable processes. The C-suite also has a window to the overall financial health of the organization with access to updates in real-time.

Develop a Plan to Automate

Present the facts to the stakeholders in the C-suite, including who will oversee the transition, the people who need to be involved, and the approximate timeline for AP automation. Typically, this includes the CFO, the CIO, as well as the CPO if the project could potentially include expansion to cover procurement automation. The goal is to prove how AP automation will boost the bottom line and improve productivity rather than being an unnecessary interruption of business. Cite how little time it takes when adopting a best practice with a reliable vendor who understands the processes. 

Resilient organizations are focused on being “future-ready” since the COVID-19 quarantine. Disruption has become an opportunity to make lasting changes to be a more effective process overall. Reduced costs and saved time helps companies realize a measurable ROI for adopting technology that supports remote workers in a crisis and during the innovative future days to come after COVID-19.

Choose the Ideal AP Automation System for Your Company 

Perform an analysis of the company’s needs to determine the best AP automation system. Factors to review include:

  • Number of invoices produced monthly
  • Current approval process
  • Number of invoices that come in fax, mail, email, etc.
  • How payments are made
  • Bottlenecks in the current AP process

Review IT requirements for the software, including security needs and if the system can grow with the company. Outline the security, convenience, and fast pace of selecting cloud-based AP automation. Be aware of budgetary concerns and consider short-term and long-term costs when weighing the options.  

Get Everyone On Board 

Discuss ways to get everyone on board with the switch to AP automation. Have a kick-off meeting with management and the AP team to discuss implementation, who will be working on the transition, and deadlines for each step of the adoption process. Start a training program to ensure everyone on the team knows how the system works and ways to maximize its potential to benefit the business. 

Include the IT team in these meetings and training sessions to get the optimum support during integration with the current ERP or accounting system. Focus on how AP automation will impact the workflow and perform preliminary testing before launching the new system. Cloud-based automation systems mean limited involvement from IT for upgrades and new releases, which are delivered automatically. The goal is to ensure everyone understands how AP automation works to maximize its efficiency and potential.

Establish Best Practices for AP Automation

Analyze the best practices for AP automation, such as how to establish accountability, verification of user acceptance, analyzation of system metrics, and how to get vendors on board with the new process. Create a plan of action to reap the benefits of adopting automation by educating staff and vendors about how it works. Work with a robust vendor who provides training and assistance as the company automates.

Learning how AP automation works also helps the AP team emerge from the back office and make a difference in the financial health of the company. For example, requesting early payment discounts from vendors with a shorter process for invoice approvals helps boost the bottom line. Once the system is up and running, review the progress of the AP automation software through tracking metrics to see which aspects are running smoothly and where areas of help exist. 

Use current events and facts to outline the easiest path to AP automation. Companies with AP automation now are ahead of the curve. Spotlight the advantages of adopting technology today to be ready for remote workers and other inevitable changes tomorrow. 

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