CloudX Blog

Tapping Into Accounts Payable Software For Process Optimization

Posted by Chris Cosgrove

Aug 14, 2017 2:23:20 PM

daftpunk.jpg

Techno...logic?

If you haven’t taken the time to listen to Daft Punk’s tasty techno tunes, then you’re missing out.  Or at least your crossfit or running training sessions are missing out.  There’s just something amped about how those French dudes roll in terms of creating musical fusion...you could say they’re on it.  In hilarious fashion a lot of their thematics in both their lyrics, style, and even videography blends a hybrid of both human and technology.  Ironically, it’s a decent segue for what we’re looking at today, or at least it is in my opinion, and maybe it’s inspired us to write this little ditty for you today.


Optimization is a big deal


This is true in virtually any area of life...I mean who doesn’t want to get the best out of something.  We’re always searching for optimal value whether when we shop or spend and certainly when we’re tweaking, changing, and overhauling processes.  Few areas are as ripe for optimization in the light of the current state of available technologies as is the Accounts Payable function.  Now, we’ve written tomes on the nature of manual AP vs automated AP and we are unabashed advocates of the latter.  In the case you’re one of the poor souls mired in an automation-less existence then you have our deepest condolences...everything is on you and a burden, and that just isn’t fun.


Now once you’ve deployed some form of automation, whether front end invoice processing, e-invoicing, or EDI, then you’re in the market for process optimization.  For the sake of the remaining paragraphs, our purview is oriented around front end invoice processing and payment optimization as we believe those are the easiest approaches to deploy requiring your vendors little to no change and thus has the highest chances for short and long term success and adoption.


Optimization Impacts


Divide and conquer.

Instead of trying to boil the ocean in terms of automating every invoice that comes into your organization from day one, the better approach is to divide and conquer.  As an example, looking at your Accounts Payable software roll out as a departmental onboarding procedure, or using geography as the basis, or a subset of “clean” vendors makes the execution better and will help you get better results.  In other words, you have to know your process and its weaknesses and strengths and then move in the area of strengths to streamline the segments that are going to get you the best bang for your efforts.  This can mean taking the biggest swath of invoices that have clean matching data and starting there.  From there you reassess and then move to the areas that require additional triage or care advance and lock those down and so on.


Use an Escalator not a Wonkavator.

Yes, if you remember from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka had a special elevator that could go upwards, downwards, forwards, sideways, longways, allways...it could even fly.  That may work well in the realm of children’s sci-fi, but in the Orwellian hellscape that is manual Accounts Payable, an Escalator is much better.  What I mean by that is leveraging workflow and business intelligence technology to isolate outliers.  In the event you have invoices that for whatever reason are not advancing through the process, but need to, then you can use rules within your Accounts Payable software to act on your behalf and escalate them to whatever personnel can effect a positive outcome.


Optimize payments

Whether it means capturing an early payment discount, or paying timely to avoid late payment fees, optimizing payments is an area that Accounts Payable software can make tangible contributions to your process that can be realized with monetary impact.  Again, through advanced business intelligence embedded within your automation software you can eliminate the headache of having to physically manage each and every payment transaction and instead create a pathway by which you can achieve high levels of payment optimization as a default.  This means you can also drive strategic ePayments if you're trying to monetize your payment stream and get both tighter controls and a kickback for your spend auto-magically!



We hope you found this post insightful...you can always find more relevant content at www.cloudxdpo.com/blog and check out the eBook below on the 4 Pillars of Maximizing the Strategic Value of Accounts Payable!

Download The Four Keys To Maximizing The Strategic Value of Accounts Payable

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Topics: accounts payable software, ap automation, epayments

Accounts Payable Software & APIs

Posted by Chris Cosgrove

Jul 20, 2017 3:15:28 PM

Automation advantages.jpg

 

There’s little doubt that accounts payable software provides a significant uplift in process efficiency, visibility, and personnel effectiveness.  However, the multi-faceted approaches to how invoice processing is executed within the AP department are only a limited means to improving the payment process as a whole.  In effect, whatever the approach, whether traditional AP automation or e-invoicing, the idea is that the effort to the front end processing effectively becomes digitized.  Once that is executed, AP staff are required to continue the process by triggering payment.



The question for many businesses is how does that process happen…?  

 

For most it’s a matter of getting critical transactional data into their ERP or accounting system and then following the payment execution processes.   Beyond knowing the fact that automation technology improves process and business outcomes, it’s time to look to the future of what’s coming down the pike and for many businesses the telltale signs are becoming clear with each passing day.


Essentially the world is just continuing to be one increasingly networked economy that is going to have hooks into many disparate systems to make passing data and handling business transactions reliable and sure.  In a nutshell connecting systems and processes is where it’s at.  This is evidenced by some of the ground-breaking work that is going on at some of the biggest payment networks the world over.  PYMNTS highlights what MasterCard is doing to this end through their strategic API initiatives.


For the uninitiated, APIs are defined as application program interfaces and essentially are the sets of routines, protocols, and tools that govern how software components should interact.  In a sense it’s a normalized way of exchanging information and it has tremendous implications for the B2B marketplace.  Consider that MasterCard and Visa are both making plays for global B2B payments as they both realize that it is an overlooked market that represents a staggering 124 Trillion dollars a year according to the Motley Fool.  Further, 50% of those are controlled by ACH which offers some advantages to checks, but certainly not the cash gains of virtual payments.  We’d say that someone has finally identified the value of making a conduit (APIs) that is easy for businesses to drive their payments through and there will certainly be numerous companies that follow this lead.


Where It’s Heading


Ultimately, payments will shift as CFO’s and Controllers hungry to make positive change and profit for their organizations drive these new technologies forward.  Additionally, more suppliers will begin to accept them as they realize the positive impacts of the time value of money...ie. take your virtual payment today or wait a few weeks for ACH or longer for check.  Inevitably, more and more companies will accept card payments and enjoy the cash flow derived from the interchange participation and the security advantages that exist over check and ACH.


The good news is that you can set your sails to benefit from the winds of change.  We advocate that businesses who are looking to improve consider an integrated strategy that encompasses both front end invoice processing through state of the art accounts payable software (ideally cloud-based) and a multi-pronged payments approach encompassing virtual B2B payments, ACH, and for the hold outs, check transactions.


If you haven’t taken the time to check out this eBook on what we deem are the Four Keys To Maximizing the Strategic Value of AP then it’s high time you should, especially if you’re looking to structure the best possible payables and payments process!

Download The Four Keys To Maximizing The Strategic Value of Accounts Payable

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Topics: accounts payable software, ap automation, epayments, APIs

Accounts Payable Software Plus This Equals AP Juggernaut

Posted by Chris Cosgrove

Jul 12, 2017 5:27:05 PM

Leverage Accounts Payable Software and ePayments to become an AP juggernaut!

Newsflash

 

As you may have come to know from perusing our blog for even a brief while, we’re ardent promoters of the concepts of machine automation as a forward-propelling force concerning manual processes.  Accounts Payable invoice processing is exactly the type of unsightly, challenged, and typically cumbersome process that is ripe for improvement with the right tools.  Further, the transformation of this tedious back end process is one that portends great advantages for the visionary and bold financial leaders that will challenge organizational complacency and other mindsets in their pursuit of business betterment.  However, though we go through great detail here about the impacts evidenced by accounts payable software, it’s not the only ingredient necessary to have fantastic outcomes in this area of your business.


Another key foundational element beyond accounts payable software is the prescient deployment of electronic payments.  While this is a broad and encompassing subject and one that is seemingly evolving all the time, it is absolutely necessary to create optimal results in accounts payable.  As we have discussed in other posts, it’s time for payments to change and the future of business to business payments is clearly not checks for a variety of reasons.  This particular article from PYMNTS.COM deals with why CFOs are guiding their people to plastic, and in particular virtual plastic.  That would be virtual cards or virtual payments to use the modern day vernacular.


The bottomline is that payments represent an opportunity for innovation and improvement that undergird how business gets done.  


Electronic payments afford businesses the following advantages:


  • Monetized payment stream driving cash rebates back into the corporate coffers
  • Enhanced payment controls and tighter security standards over traditional corporate cards and check payment methods
  • Better visibility to payment approvals and audit trails
  • Faster payment cycles and reduced costs associated with print and mail

Obviously this is not an exhaustive list of all the benefits and impacts that come from electronic payments, but it should serve as a primer on the key takeaways from an epayments initiative.


Further, we recognize that some of these items are only elementary and that in order to have meaningful change in a burdened area like AP, it’s necessary to deploy some type of automation technology, whether it’s EDI, e-Invoicing, or AP automation.  We also understand that each prospective buyer of said technologies is going to have a predilection or preference depending on their business and vantage point, but the bottomline is that your situation will be improved vastly over a manual operation just by choosing one of the options.  However, not all businesses can execute these and thus you have to do some soul searching to honestly evaluate what’s affordable, achievable, and ultimately acceptable.


For additional reinforcement of the key items that will take your process to the next level and make it an absolute juggernaut for your business, please reference The 4 Keys To Maximizing the Strategic Value of Accounts Payable eBook below!

Download The Four Keys To Maximizing The Strategic Value of Accounts Payable

Read More

Topics: accounts payable software, ap software

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