Kickin' It Old School
In today’s post, we want to challenge some old school thinking around Accounts Payable software. One of the prevalent thoughts that has held sway over the entire AP automation industry is really a focus on core invoice processing. By this I mean that the focus for Accounts Payable software has typically been oriented around streamlining process and expediting process cycles and data accuracy. While we certainly won’t contend that these are out of fashion, we want to elevate the nature of the conversation to the many potentialities that a cutting edge AP automation approach will deliver. It’s not that the former thinking is bad at all… in fact, it’s a great start, but just as many things evolve over time, it’s time consider some implications that today’s technology can bring to bear in your business.
Bringin' It New School
Let’s take a quick look beyond the normative elements (things like capture, workflow, document imaging, etc.) of sound Accounts Payable software (at least in terms of invoice automation):
Dynamic visibility - This is a big deal and unfortunately not all businesses grasp what’s at stake with respect to this point which is why we want to bring it into the light here. Certainly, the ability to be able to call up an invoice from a search perspective has myriad advantages over antiquated paper storage and retrieval methods. This is not rocket science either. Simply ask any member of an Accounts Payable department what life is like when the auditors come calling and they’ll probably offer to buy you a bottle of suds and tell you their woes. The fact is no one likes to be someone’s lackey or Smee, and without fail many AP staff are subject to this type of existence when the retrieval process for invoices is onerous. Enter solid Accounts Payable software and this issue disappears like the morning dew. However, having access to data in real time, not just archival, affords the opportunity for data driven business outcomes. As an example, surfacing invoices with eligible discounts as part of your daily processing queue, will empower an AP organization to function more strategically, execute payment, and pocket the savings generated through an early payment discount. Absent dynamic visibility AP staff are less empowered to impact their business in as positive a way.
Payment execution - Certainly front end invoice processing is the ideal in terms of AP automation. Who can argue with divesting themselves of copious and error prone data entry in favor of accurate data throughput without the need for keystrokes? While that is a great start, and one that only about 40% of the corporate landscape has undertaken we might add albeit surprisingly, to get to the next level savvy finance leaders are integrating optimized payment execution into their AP automation approach. Instead of integrating multiple modules of disparate technology providers, a one-stop shop approach is becoming increasingly utilized. As an example state of the art Accounts Payable software can seamlessly handle both the front end invoice processing and the execution of payment across a variety of payment types to include ePayments like ACH, virtual card, wire and traditional payment types like check. This becomes a boon to the processing flow and the invoice cycle time part of the narrative, but the real kicker is found through monetizing the payment stream via the aforesaid ePayment method that is virtual card processing. By this means, corporations can tap their AP spend in a new found, sustainable, and low resource requirement way that becomes a spigot of profitability in what is usually a cost generating quagmire, and while this may be news to you, it’s certainly something executives who are trying to steward the bottom line are sure to be happy about.
Mobile empowerment - In keeping with the idea of getting the most productivity out of your workforce, modern renditions on Accounts Payable software have the invaluable integration of mobile technology. This is also an imperative not only from a search and retrieval standpoint, but also from a workflow escalation and payment execution capacity. Lost time translates to lost opportunity and if inefficient processing impedes your ability to capture payment discounts or causes you to bear late fees, then something must be done. To our thinking, one of those somethings is to harness mobility instead of shifting blame to someone being out of the office as the reason something didn’t get processed. Combined with intelligent workflows and delegation, astute AP leaders can mimic internal business rules driving opportunities for positive business outcomes forward at record pace.
We hope you found this insightful and welcome you to continue learning and growing as we tackle all manner of things Accounts Payable process related! If you enjoyed this, give us a like and a share!