It’s hard not to like the NBC’s The Office. Even despite the fact that the show has been off-air for several years, the hilarity of the staff and leadership interactions is an all too vivid depiction of life in a stale corporation, and brother, the struggle is real! At least for those who have been there. One of the best vignettes though is where Kevin, the accounting department’s third wheel is pondering his choices and racking his brain at the vending machine about his next selection because he’s unsure of what to purchase while repeating the mantra that “Chips are good...very good…”. While choices at the vending machine may be difficult at times even for the best of us, at some point a decision has to be made, and today’s post is really to help you when making decisions about what accounts payable software you’re going to be getting.
While we go into greater detail about the models of accounts payable software deployment over here, the first thing you need to decide is whether you want it in-house or in the cloud, and if you want layered services over it or whether you want to tackle additional functions in house. A lot of this has to do with your existing resources and budgeting and your requirements in terms of deployment from a timeline standpoint. For example, if you are looking at getting a solution up in the next 1-2 quarters, then you’d better have some assistance in the blocking and tackling of data capture and validation, otherwise your project is going to lag, because you’ll be adding to the degree of difficulty when implementing.
After that decision is rendered, here’s a list of some must have tools that will enhance the value you extract from your AP automation initiative:
Dynamic Dashboards - These should be a mandatory within all accounts payable software, though not all vendors provide this in equal proportion. The dynamic and visible nature of the data within your process allows you to eliminate process bottlenecks and maximize process opportunities, as is the case in early payment discount capture, and making sure bills are paid prior to due dates. Definitely a must have!
Workflow Collaboration - This provides you the ability to interact with colleagues whether your 10 feet or 10 states away. Through online collaboration including comments / messaging, escalation, delegation, and the like, you can retain the conversation around invoice approval or rejection decisions and keep a tidy record for when the audit man comes!
Multi-way Matching - By taking the manual components of invoice matching, whether 2 or 3 way, you’ll recoup a massive amount of time for your staff and enhance the accuracy and integrity of your AP process. If your accounts payable software can’t execute matching, it may not be built for competitive play.
Customized Business Intelligence - A solid BI stack is going to give you the ability to build all sorts of process and thresholds within your system to mimic the goings on of your process and empower you to enforce standards and controls to a new degree. As an example if during the PO match you have a pricing discrepancy on an item or line that’s under 2%, it could be an automatic pass through, instead of requiring manual intervention. In the event it’s higher it would kick out for triage, and these parameters would obviously be set by you based on your discretion.
Integrated ePayments - Having the ability to invoke and execute payment from within the accounts payable software where you’re matching or approving and coding invoices is just huge. One cockpit if you will where you are driving the entirety of the invoice transaction from presentment to processing to payment is very appealing. Eliminating toggling between systems is a massive time and aggravation saver and the fact that you can leverage this component to be a switch flipper is even better. By that we mean that this can literally transform your process into the goose that lays the golden egg by monetizing your payment stream to create perpetual cash rebates into your business.
We hope these help you make solid decisions as you evaluate what accounts payable software is right for your process!
Check out this ebook below to learn how to extract every ounce of value from your AP process!