AP invoice automation
Best practice


Top 3 Tips from Best-in-Class Accounts Payable Organizations

We have worked with accounts payable organizations in companies of different size, industries and geographies to help simplify and automate their invoice processing since back in 2001. It’s fascinating to see how certain AP teams really manage to move the needle and make a difference that affects the entire business and bottom line results.

In this blog post, I’ll share three accounts payable best practices based on what these successful AP organizations do differently than others to achieve top score efficiency and automation results.

Tip #1: Get a true Cloud automation tool

Best-in-class AP organizations focus on automation, not just creating a digital copy of their manual workflow. The end goal for these top performers is fully automated – touchless – invoice processing.

The first tip is to get a tool that is up for the task. There are plenty of tools in the market, but few are powerful enough to offer high levels of automation in a ready-to-run standard cloud service.

Additionally, industry leaders use a data-driven approach to measure key performance indicators (KPIs), track improvements and find opportunities to further optimize their process. For this reason, your automation tool should provide you with detailed analytics and reporting so that you can closely monitor your performance on those important KPIs and – as an added bonus – compare your results to other similar companies using real-world benchmarks.

Learn more about data-driven AP automation in this on-demand webinar: Benchmark your AP invoice processing efficiency

Tip #2: Own your process, the entire process

Another important trait of AP automation leaders is that they take a holistic view of the AP invoice process. By holistic we mean that they continuously seek efficiency improvements for both non-PO and PO-based invoices, but also that they look at the whole process from invoice receiving (or capture) and all the way into the ERP system.

E-invoices are great since they take out the effort of opening envelopes and OCR-scanning, but e-invoicing alone is not the holy grail of efficiency. You need to automate the actual management, matching, and deviation handling as well, to reach true touchless processing.

Accounts payble process KPIs

To emulate this characteristic, you should continuously monitor, analyze, and improve the process. It can be done with minimal effort if you deploy the right technology allowing you to pull detailed analytics reports on your accounts payable KPIs and your process performance.

Owning your process also includes maintaining a close relationship with your suppliers. When your process analysis shows that certain suppliers cause poor automation levels, you need to talk directly to these underperforming suppliers and make sure that you are aligned on invoice data format and quality.

For more tips on how to improve your automation level, watch this on-demand webinar: How to reach 95% touchless AP invoice processing

Tip #3: Simplify for your internal and external stakeholders

In third place, leading AP organizations understand that they need to provide an outstanding service to their internal stakeholders, including invoice approvers and buyers, as well as external suppliers.

No one likes a clunky system, especially when it comes to approving invoices. By offering your approvers and buyers a modern and mobile friendly system, you don’t just make them like you, you also remove excuses for not approving invoices in a timely manner. Making invoice approvals available at anytime, anywhere, and from any device will ensure a fast and lean invoice process which in turn will mean invoices are paid on time, every time.

Your suppliers will feel the difference – no more lost or late payments, no more calling to ask for the status of an invoice, simply no more hassle. And you’ll get a chance to benefit from early payment discounts and actually contribute to the bottom line results.

What are you waiting for? Get started today!

There’s great technology available as standard Cloud services that are fast to implement and easy to use. It’s not the future, it’s now!

My last (bonus) tip: watch our Marc Jacobs case study video for a great example of true automation success galore! The Marc Jacobs team managed to implement an automated accounts payable process in just three weeks and achieved 93% automatic distribution of invoices, decreased invoice processing lead time by 75% and achieved ROI in just 6 months.

Daniel Saraste

Daniel Saraste

VP Product Management