AP automation can enhance processes to improve productivity and save money. But, unfortunately, it’s not as easy as selecting any workflow automation system and utilize it. For the best ROI, you should put thought and effort into designing the automation procedure. One way to do it is to keep the best practices in mind when you begin.
a)Ensure that the AP Department is on Board
When you want to become successful with the AP automation efforts, it’s crucial to get every employee in the AP team on board with the new workflows before you start using them. With everyone supporting you, implementing the AP system will become easier.
Discuss with your employees who will be using the solution and make sure that they understand how it will ease their overall workload. Maybe, you need to schedule a one-on-one meeting with them to receive their feedback. Use their valuable feedback as you go through the supplier selection process.
Keep in mind that some may be averse to changing the AP process. But mostly, they will be satisfied with anything that makes their job simple in the future. If your business is still relying on spreadsheets and paper invoices or has a complicated approval process, make sure to highlight how switching to automation will streamline everything and boost accuracy.
b)Tools that You Use Already
Your team members are already using multiple tools for their daily AP operations, that range from ERP to document management tools and more. Whether they are still depending on traditional methods or are leveraging an accounting solution to manage their invoice processing and data entry- get your staff to provide you with a list of applications they are using and the reason behind it, so you can make prompt decisions when it comes to choosing the vendor for an AP solution.
c)Responsibility for Automating AP
Somebody should be responsible for overseeing all the details of the solution. This worker is the point of contact for dealings with the provider. Once a choice is made, he will be responsible for setting up the solution during the implementation phase and managing analytics with suggestions for enhancement.
The team member will be the internal point of contact as well if there are any problems with the system. He will handle the complete project in order to make sure that the automation performance is the best it can be and take necessary actions to make things run smoothly.
The staff you select should be able to steer things in the correct direction, regardless of whether they have direct control over the needed resources to do it. While they don’t need to handle the regular management responsibilities as those will go to the senior managers, they will have to address the optimization and monitoring problems.
d)Pay Full Attention to Metrics
Although you may want to incorporate the new AP automation solution right away, it’s crucial to ensure that you know what is going on with your present software. Look at the existing metrics so you can check what’s working and what’s not and spot areas for enhancement.
Plus, you can find that you can eradicate a few steps and generate something that runs more smoothly than you thought it would be. Understanding metrics in the present situation can aid you in making better business decisions. Data is available in real-time to check cash flow, and the accounting department can validate each action taken on the electronic files via the audit trail.
e)Get Familiar with the Cloud
If you haven’t started using it for other things, becoming familiar with the cloud is essential for AP automation, as the data will get uploaded on the cloud. Researching can aid you to address problems that may crop up in the long run. Usually, you must pay attention to security, customization, flexibility, and accountability.
Usually, the workflow automation intends to help you find out where you can process changes to make things simple and later use them to boost performance. As such, you should prepare for various operations so you can incorporate these changes. With the help of testing and monitoring metrics that inform the changes, you will get more visibility into your AP workflows.
g)Align Automation with Business Objectives
The software you select should complement your department’s work along with your business objectives. In order to accomplish this, it takes time to set objectives and plan before you start the automation procedure.
Determine what you need and how you are going to do it with the solution. For example, do you want to increase the invoice number by 1000? Are you planning to minimize the processing time from weeks to days? These goals will help you determine how to move forward with modern technology and guide your final supplier choice.
The major reason many companies turn to the AP automation system is that you can optimize multiple complicated methods. Taking time to standardize fundamental factors of AP like approvals, invoice receipt, along with GL coding aids to streamline the overall business methods. Ultimately it benefits your AP team and your suppliers as there is a quicker P2P cycle that may even aid you in qualifying for early payment discounts.
By switching to a cloud-based AP software, you can slash your invoice. It will enable you to use a three-way matching to compare the line items to ensure that you are paying only for items you have ordered and received.