CloudX Blog

Eliminating the Accounts Payable Blame Game through AP Automation

Posted by Chris Cosgrove

Mar 30, 2013 7:48:00 AM

   

AP automation is more magnificent than Chazz Michael

 Chazz Michael Michaels is a team player...you should be too!

 

Everybody in a team setting feels better about their performance upon receinving an ‘attaboy’ accompanied with a hearty pat on the back after a job well done.  Consider baseball as an example…what other sport highlights individual achievements with so much physical affection?  Who knew that such a masculine sport would be hallmarked by one of it’s endearing idiosyncracies…the infamous butt-slap.  Nothing says, you’ve done a good job like that ritual in baseball.  The only other tight-pantsed, manly sport that I can think of that comes close, would be football…American, of course to our friends across the pond.  In the Accounts Payable world, however, getting accolades for a job well done are few and far between, and so, we wanted to discuss the blame game and how Accounts Payable automation in the AP process can position you for some high fivin’, chest bumpin', and rump slappin’ (optional and sophomoric, I know).

In an earlier post, we covered the known fact (to AP professionals that is) that the Accounts Payable process and those tied to supporting it often go underestimated, undervalued, and under-appreciated.  Our aim is to help change that, and with respect to the blame-game, we’re specifically talking about the incidents when invoices, and other miscellaneous documents like check requests, check copy forms, tax info, supporting docs…you name it, go missing.  The typical result of an AP file gone AWOL is the infamous double finger point (kinda like a triple Salchow for you Blades of Glory fans).  Typically the originator of the request/submitted document will blame AP for not turning something around in a timely fashion or for ‘losing’ the form they submitted.  AP in turn often points out that a form was not submitted accurately or entirely, and as such can’t be processed.  The problem is especially evident in a paper-based environment.  Why?  Because forms establish a chain of custody (document owner or originator), transaction instructions – cut check for amount, and the impetus, ie. reason for it…reimbursement, bill, T&E, etc.  If any of the information is missing on the form, or as an attachment to the form, the resolution to the submission generally goes sideways until it’s all assembled correctly and so the AP team can accurately book the transaction on the ledger.  While the blame game is certainly an option in the AP, it’s not a good one nor is it fun.

 

Getting out of the blame game and getting on with life!

 

One of the reasons that we advocate automated invoice processing, especially built around an electronic document management system (which most Accounts Payable software has in-built) is precisely to eliminate lost document issues and to provide visibility to documents in the process by their stage.  Having this kind of insight can eliminate a lot of the friction with AP and its customers…internal or external.  For instance, take the humble check request form…by adopting to a digitized submission and workflow process, you could bypass the wrangling that typically goes on over who dropped the ball, and have the docs in question in a secure, accessible environment.  When everyone knows what’s going on with a particular transaction, it’s a lot easier to resolve outlying exceptions so that the transaction can be completed.  Essentially then, an electronic approach can greatly reduce the instances of the blame game by providing accountability and support for all parties involved.

To take it to the next level, the goal would be to put this kind of technology in the cloud, so that it would be web accessible to all users.  By doing this, you could eliminate a lot of the costs associated with traditional software installs, ie. licenses and eliminate risks around the storage infrastructure.

 

So until the opportunity presents itself for you to take the automation plunge with some fancy AP software, we hope that these insights offer a fresh, if not funny, perspective on how to improve your everyday life in the AP world.  In seriousness, a lot of the quibbles that go on because of how we interact with paper in a given process, can be greatly improved through a streamlined and highly visible electronic approach (imagine the possibilities of improving dispute resolution with your external customers via  a Vendor Portal and the implications that has!). Getting to the end state, where the process is improved is the big question though…how to do that?

 

To answer that in the context of AP improvement, check out the eBook below!  Bear in mind that we advocate a Document Process Outsourcing approach, which is seminal in the market, but we think our recommendation here might surprise you! 

Topics: Accounts Payable Process, AP Process, Accounts Payable Automation, Improve Accounts Payable, accounts payable software, Invoice Processing, ap software, accounts payable improvement, accounts payable outsourcing

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