AP invoice automation


Checklist: 6 steps to identify the right AP automation solution for your organization

Whether you’re you looking to remove manual and paper-based AP invoice processes with automation or want to increase the level of automation in your current process, this blog post will help you get started with 6 actionable steps.

#1: Define your scope

In order for your project to be successful, you need to clearly define the scope:

  • Which parts of the accounts payable process should the new solution handle and which should be considered out of scope?
  • Who are your key internal stakeholders?
  • What are their respective objectives?
  • What is an internally sellable project scope given your organization’s structure, resources and decision makers?

 #2: Map the current AP process to identify your needs

The key here is to look at your current process and focus on where your pain points are so that you ensure the solution you select addresses these crucial areas, rather than less problematic sections that would be “nice to have”.

  • How do you manage the accounts payable workflows for expense invoices and PO-based invoices today?
  • How many people are involved in accounts payable, procurement, logistics, management?
  • Which steps are manual vs automated and what are the main pain points or bottlenecks in each process flow?
  • What is your month end accrual process – how accurate and timely is it?
  • How do you currently archive, and later report on, your invoices after they are processed?

Business woman and man evaluating ap automation solution

Further reading: A buyer’s guide to AP invoice automation solutions 
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#3: Identify system dependencies

The Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system or financial system is the most important dependency when considering a new AP automation solution.

  • Which ERP, procurement and financial system(s) are currently used in your organization?
  • Are there any plans to replace or upgrade the current system(s)?
  • Any other business systems that will be affected by the AP automation project?

It is crucial that your new AP solution has a powerful, stable and seamless connection to the ERP to ensure effortless synchronization of your master data – including everything from general ledger accounts and payment terms to purchase orders and tax codes.

#4: Capture IT requirements

Today, there are many AP automation solutions available as a standard cloud service, hence reducing the involvement needed from your IT team to a minimum. Still, you need to ensure your IT stakeholders are on board:

  • Will IT be able to support the project with the resources needed?
  • Are there any reasons for not selecting a cloud solution?
  • Does your organization have any specific requirements related to system security, hosting and maintenance?

#5: Research, audit and compare solutions

Just like when you are planning to buy a new car or book your next holiday trip, make sure you do thorough research using different information channels:

  • Google searches
  • LinkedIn groups
  • Accounts payable forums and events
  • Personal network of friends and peers
  • Recommendations from your ERP provider

Then put the requirements list you have compiled through steps 1-4 of this checklist into a spreadsheet (see sample below) and evaluate how well each solution can match your needs.

 requirements checklist

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#6: Build your business case

It’s crucial that you present the right information to each of your internal stakeholder groups. IT stakeholders will need to know how much resources will be required from their teams to implement and maintain the new solution, whereas Finance stakeholders will focus on cost vs. savings (ROI calculation) as well as any risks involved.

Your ROI calculation should include:

  • Solution costs, including ongoing fees as well as any implementation, maintenance and upgrade costs that may occur
  • Hard savings, such as headcount reduction, elimination of late payment fees and realization of early payment discounts
  • Soft savings, such as time savings, improved visibility and control as well as improved vendor relationships
How to sell an AP automation project to your boss

Learn more: How to sell an AP automation project to your boss
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This blog post summarizes the recently launched “A buyer’s guide to AP invoice automation solutions”. For more details, download your free copy of the guide.
Dmitri Krasik

Dmitri Krasik

VP Sales - North America