AP invoice automation
Best practice


3 accounts payable trends to prepare you for 2018

Is 2018 going to be the year your accounts payable organization gets truly automated? In this blog post, I’ll share my view on the three most important accounts payable trends you need to know about (and preferably implement) to ensure your AP is set for success in 2018.

The cloud way or the highway

Cloud is no longer just an option for the more modern and forward-looking organizations with a progressive IT team. It’s here today and it’s here to stay. Cloud solutions have become the new standard for literally every type of business support solutions including everything from email clients, CRM and document management, to finance and reporting systems.  

Accounts payable is no different. And there are a ton of benefits with a cloud-based AP automation solution. This is just the top of the list: 

  • Quick and easy deployment. In today’s business climate, we cannot afford to wait for months to attain the benefits and values of an automated AP process. With a standardized cloud solution and best practice implementation processes, you can expect to go live in weeks rather than months. Lengthy and complex IT projects belong to the past.  
  • Always the best solution at hand. Have you ever heard a sales person talk about their solution’s awesome new functionality and then finishing up by adding “oh, but this cool feature is only available on our new version so you would have to do an upgrade project to get access…” Isn’t that so annoying? With a cloud solution, this scenario does not exist since product upgrades and new features are pushed to all cloud customers at the same time on a regular basis.   
  • Being part of a community. The cloud enables a collaborative way of using a business solution or service. Users can ask questions and suggest new features within the tool, vote for ideas and participate in discussions with developers. Ultimately, this leads up to a very agile and customer focused way of developing and improving the solution with direct feedback from real life usage. In addition, you’ll be able to leverage data not only on your own AP process performance but also aggregated community benchmark data so that you can compare your metrics with your peers.  

Further reading: 5 reasons for AP invoice automation in the cloud Download white paper  

Combining high automation with full control is no longer a utopia 

Previously, and still the case with basic invoice processing solutions, you would have to choose between a high level of automation OR being in control of your process and data. Combining the two has been a difficult task. Automation by definition means removing humans from the process, but without the human eyes and action you may experience lack of control. 

The devil – and the answer – is in the details.  

You will need to ensure you have an AP solution that captures invoice data on a row level and then can match each invoice row to the corresponding row on a purchase order and/or goods receipt note. Without this detailed functionality, you end up matching on header level hoping that the details are correct, or otherwise spending hours of manual handling and post-control in order to gain some level of visibility. 

In 2018, organizations should not need to settle for a “good enough” solution, neither compromise on automation level nor control. There is technology available to support both. A modern invoice matching engine will allow for dynamic and flexible matching configuration to support a highly touchless process with no user intervention whatsoever. At the same time, it will also support the AP team and the rest of the organization with the data and reporting they need to conduct proper follow-up, analysis and audits. 

Accounts payable trends

Learn more by downloading our white paper:
5 ways to drive AP to record touchless heights

Connecting best-of-breed solutions for the ultimate set up

It might be tempting to select a solution that claims they can support several different business functions including the AP workflow. But as with everything else, “one size does not fit all” and it is hard for such broad solution to really tackle the unique challenges of each and every function.  

It is understandable, though, that many organizations went down this route in the past. Implementing IT solutions have traditionally been a rather painful process so if you think you could cover more functions in one project, then it’s easy to see why that could have seemed like the right choice. 

Now that cloud solutions have become standard, you have the opportunity to select the most suitable solution for each task and connect them to create the ultimate solution set-up for your organization. This way, you’ll be able to create your own solution “dream team” with separate best-of-breed solutions for accounts payable, procurement, spend analysis, T&E management, ERP etc. Plus, since many of these solutions are pre-connected in the cloud, implementations are made really easy.

Get a first-hand look at a best-of-breed AP automation solution, watch our video demo!

Daniel Saraste

Daniel Saraste

VP Product Management