There’s an expression that goes something like too much of a good thing is never enough. 

But, everyone knows that too much of anything is not a good thing.  While perhaps more boring than taking a damn-the torpedos approach to this argument, it’s generally better to have balance than lie in the extremes.  Consider what going to extremes means in pop culture…you won’t have to look too far.  Case in point…Supersize Me!  I mean, look what eating an all fast food diet does to you in 30 short days…kinda gross, and for my money the $1 hot fudge sundae at McDonald’s is pretty much the best dollar you’ll ever spend in my opinion…but I digress.  Alternatively, it may be better to burn out than rust out as dear Neil Young would remind us…Hey, Hey, My, My…AP Automation will never die…

But before you can seriously embrace the concept of Accounts Payable automation in your organization, this is a short list of admonitions before prematurely biting off more than you can chew!  We’ve already discussed at length the imperative of benchmarking your Accounts Payable process, defining cost benefit scenarios, and determining achievability in this article here!

Here are four more times when NOT to pursue AP transformation:

The price of Change is outweighed by the benefits of change! – Though this may sound crazy, it makes sense to evaluate whether you have the chutzpah to take on an organization that is  somewhat complacent.  We’ve seen this in a variety of organizations and it’s always a bit disconcerting when you see ‘hollow men’ (not just men of course) leading an organization with the ‘we’ve always done it that way mantra’.  If ever there was a case for nuking the good in favor of the great, AP process automation would be numero uno.  All kidding aside…this is a real consideration for anyone one who is about to take on the system Cool Hand Luke style, and you need to be prepared for fall-out.  With that said, if you diligently plan and execute you can head a lot of the ack-ack off at the pass, before it’s an issue.

You don’t have alignment in vision between Executive Staff and Department Staff! – Kind of a dovetail to the above point, but if your not yoked together in your vision from both levels of the organization, your best efforts are pretty much headed into a ditch.  Why?  Because you need each other to get sponsorship and adoption.  Successful AP software deployments and process engineering doesn’t happen  without a little fuel on the fire from on-high and certainly not without the capable hands of AP Managers and Supervisors, and IT Business Analysts executing upon a laundry list of tasks, sort of like building a mosaic.  Also, if you don’t have alignment in lofty places, you’re probably not even going to get the project underway due to the typical capital investment requirements of a traditional Accounts Payable software installation….hallelujah for document process outsourcing!

You’re in the middle of nine other projects! – Another key factor to a great automation initiative that goes well is the timing component.  If you and your peers are spread out like the 101st Airborne in Belgium during WWII, there’s a likelihood that not much of anything is going to happen beyond survival.  Taking on a marathon type project of automating AP is something that needs singular attention, insight, planning, execution, rallying, and follow through.  Don’t commit to improving your AP process unless you can commit.

You’re in a rush! – If you’ve ever played pool, you’ll know the adage ‘speed kills’ as your friends console you while you reach into your pockets to settle accounts after they run the table on you (and no I’m not projecting on you).  Systems implementation and AP process overhaul are not something to be done while trying to set a land speed record.  I mean we’re talking about serious whiteboard and process mapping time, not a day out at the Bonneville salt flats.  If you can’t take the time to slow down and think this through, it’s better to hold off until you can.

Hopefully you’ve gleaned a couple points that can help you from prematurely launching your AP overhaul.  If you want to learn how to benchmark your invoice processing, check out the eBook below and begin by identifying the cost components to your process!

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