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How to Make a Business Case for AP Automation

Discover how to make a strong business case for AP automation to streamline and improve accounts payable processes during a pandemic and beyond.

The benefits of making a solid business case for AP automation can transform accounts payable processes and have a positive effect on the entire organization. Companies that adopted automated processes before the pandemic were ready to support remote workers and stay on top of ongoing financial changes. 

With cloud automation, everyone from part-time AP clerks to the CEO could access financial data in real-time. The C-suite was able to gain control over the financial picture during a global crisis, enabling them to find new suppliers and negotiate discounts required to remain productive. Even in “ordinary times,” there’s no doubt that AP automation saves time, money, and human resources. A strong business case focuses on the ROI for implementing automation, so companies don’t get left behind in a competitive business world driven by advanced technologies.

Cloud Computing for the 21st Century

First introduced nearly two decades ago, cloud computing is now the standard in the modern business world. Remote working is growing from necessity as well as a preference to support the unexpected situations in the world and employees’ personal lives. Balance and continuity are more attainable with the convenience of cloud computing. Work can be performed from a laptop, tablet, or smartphone when employees are in transit or quarantined with no local computer storage required to stay connected.

AP automation relieves the AP team of time-consuming manual tasks, so they can focus on more strategic initiatives. Early payment discounts, headcount, and overall cost savings add up over time, proving the ROI for investing in technology. Plus, the quality of work improves for AP professionals, who are finally coming out of the back office and into the forefront of strategic financial breakthroughs.

Get To Know the ABC’s of AP Automation

The first step to success is to learn the ABC’s of AP automation to establish a solid business case for its adoption. Tedious tasks once performed manually are a touchless process with automation to gain greater control over financial transactions. Notifications are sent to avoid penalties and losses associated with late payments. Remote workers enter updates in real-time for a seamless experience. Everyone has instant access to pertinent data to make smart financial decisions in any situation, even during a global pandemic or natural disaster.

The AP team and C-suite use the latest financial data to strategize paying vendors early to score money-saving discounts and comparing vendor offerings to get the most competitive pricing. Real-time updates help companies stay on top of production and maintain constant control over the numbers. Balancing the books is easier with access to the latest numbers, and invoice approvals can be done in minutes rather than days. Formerly time-consuming projects, such as audits, are done in a fraction of the time. Human resources can be used for thoughtful work, such as building vendor relationships to negotiate discounts. 

Do the Necessary Research

Once the ABCs are understood, do the research to prove the ROI on AP automation. Explore how it can help boost the bottom line for the organization and where bottlenecking may occur and how it streamlines processes. What is the value it will bring to your organization? With the ABCs and values of AP automation in mind, make sure it is strictly aligned with the highest priorities outlined for your organization’s specific requirements.

Plus, AP automation handles AP workstreams touchlessly to improve speed and efficiency in the department while helping to prevent fraud. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), recent COVID-19 scams cost United States consumers $13.4 million since the beginning of January. Automated processes include verification, authentication, and security levels to ensure privacy every step of the way and eliminate fraud that costs businesses time, money, and their brand reputations.

Be Aware of the Audience

Next, get to know the audience to craft a presentation that answers their questions and resonates with their concerns. Mention the benefits of adopting AP automation before a crisis such as a pandemic or natural disaster. Be prepared to make a stand for adopting automation and be ready to prove its potential to improve operations. While there might be initial obligations, proving its value to stakeholders can transform the accounts payable department.

Cite conveniences, such as supporting remote workers and invoice approvals in minutes rather than days. In the recent pandemic, organizations with AP automation were instantly ready to support remote workers. In the future, whether a CEO is traveling for business or a parent is tending to a sick child, AP automation puts notifications at everyone’s fingertips to handle required work in real-time. Time is of the essence in the AP department, where falling behind a couple of days can lead to late fees and damaged vendor relationships. 

Prove the Return on Investment

Finally, prove the return on investment for implementing AP automation. Cloud-based AP automation helps companies save money, boost profits, and improve vendor relations. Working with a vendor with proven methodology and fast speed to value can mean instant benefits and a fast break-even/ROI. Reach out to vendors to get accurate numbers and a complete summary of what automation can do for your organization.

Paying invoices on-time to avoid late fees and finding ways to secure discounts for early payments boosts the bottom line. Beyond the obvious savings, AP automation also reduces the need for overtime by making audits easier. Timely payments also protect valued vendor relationships, securing the best possible pricing for the future.

Do the research and get the facts before making a business case for AP automation. Cite the many advantages of implementing AP automation, such as supporting remote workers during a pandemic. Be ready to counter any concerns to ensure the adoption of automation before your organization gets left behind.

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