CloudX Blog

Is Accounts Payable Software For The Masses A Reality?

Posted by Chris Cosgrove

Aug 17, 2017 1:24:24 PM

Go to your Accounts Payable software happy place!

 

Sometimes it’s nice to go to your happy place.  

At least that worked for Happy Gilmore when he needed to ice the championship winning putt.  Perhaps it’s a coping strategy that in theory works, and for many would-be Accounts Payable automation fans, their happy place might as well be Shangri-La .  It’s not that it’s just too much to imagine a place of peace, harmony, and beauty set in some mountainous paradise, but it’s more that for so many businesses that have a desire to get to an advanced state of automation there are just so many obstacles on the path to improvement that hopes get dashed on the rocks along the way.  So, one question we ponder from time to time is the above...is Accounts Payable software for the masses going to be a reality?


The Beginning of Wisdom is the Definition of Terms


If we’re strictly talking about Accounts Payable software or apps that empower one to quickly book AP expenses or receipts and categorize them with ease, then yes, that is readily available in the market.  There are some great apps that hook right into broadly based systems like Quickbooks that can turn you into an AP ninja even if you’re a general contractor by trade and have a truck cab that looks like something out of the Hoarders TV show.  In all seriousness there are a slew of companies that have made capturing expense information super easy and inexpensive.  However, not all products are equal and certainly not all are built for competitive play.  Another way of putting is that there are some nifty apps that will work great if you’re a mom and pop type business or a sole proprietor, but as soon as you get into transactions where you’re pushing hundreds of invoices a month or into the low thousands, you’ll outstrip the capacity of some of the apps toot sweet.  There’s a decent list of said apps here by the way: 



However, another key thing to understand that Accounts Payable software can mean so many things to so many people.  For some it’s automated expense booking via mobile app.  It could also mean technology leveraging some kind of workflow capability to integrate approval processes and better get a handle on how expenses are coded.  For others still it could be Accounts Payable software is more oriented around the goal of achieving gains in the simplicity and speed of payments themselves and thus it could be epayments centric.  For others AP software may more meaningfully address issues on the procurement side of the equation.  Whatever the case  not all AP software suites offer the same feature sets and certainly address disparate issues in the Accounts Payable life cycle.  


Establishing a Wide Scoped View


Steven Covey talks about beginning with the end in mind, and if improving the cycle of how invoices comes into your organization, moves through it, and then executes payments, it’s important to identify the issues that you need to solve for prior to vetting your provider and certainly before deployment, unless you want to have a travesty for an implementation story.


From our perspective, we think the best approach to automating invoice processing is one oriented around the least amount of impact to your supplier base.  Where e-invoicing offers tremendous advantage, it’s one hinged on the necessity of forcing your suppliers to switch up their workflow, which few will be likely to do unless through some sort of governmental mandate.  Given the ferocity of the nature of our independence, I doubt that will be likely anytime soon.  So, the approach with the least impediments seems to be oriented around a traditional AP automation approach albeit with a cloud-delivery model so clients don’t have to incur additional hardware management costs.  This provides a plethora of competitive advantages to the process while being achievable, scalable, and affordable.  Finally, from an ePayments perspective, looking at Accounts Payable software to automate and prioritize payment execution based upon vendor preferences is a great way to achieve both operational and monetary value in your business.  In this one area you can leverage your capital to earn you money which is always a win especially in a function that is typically a quagmire of costs.



If you want to find some other great ways to create a winning AP function and process check out the e-book below!

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

 

Read More

Topics: accounts payable software, ap software, epayments

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

6 Signs that should make you seriously consider AP Automation

Posted by Chris Cosgrove

Aug 6, 2014 10:58:47 AM

 deep-thoughts

 

Deep Thoughts...

 

This post is a bit of an homage to the David Letterman top ten lists of yore, in that we’re going to discuss some of the key indicators to you that it might be time to undergo a makeover in your Accounts Payable process.  Rest assured, if you find yourself chuckling, grimacing, or sighing during this piece, we are in no way pointing fingers at you, but our intention is to help you advance the thought process of improvement in your ranks so that you can benefit from the wonders of technology advances in the AP space.

 

Here we go….

 

You might need an electronic Accounts Payable software platform if:

 

  1. You’re reliant upon interoffice mail envelopes and couriers.  – Not that shopping baskets aren’t cool, but we’re suggesting there are better ways to deliver these things.  Take Amazon’s lead with their hopeful package drone delivery service and you’ll get the gist. In seriousness, this is what workflow is all about…integrating people across locales and departments to alleviate the paper distribution burden for many companies.

 

  1.  You’re getting a little too close to the Fedex guy. -  Some of the companies we’ve consulted with and worked for have slashed their express delivery bills through AP automation.   Besides being able to move documents instantly once they’re digital and being able to track the whole process, the cost implications of ditching express couriers is massive. This is especially true for those who have a centralized AP process but highly decentralized operations or many franchises/locations. 

 

  1.  You’ve been making double payments.   – No system is 100% on it’s ability to catch all scenarios for duplicate payment.  However, when you use automation on the pre-processing of an invoice to scrub the paid invoice database against similar invoice numbers, date ranges, amounts, and vendors, you can certainly weed out our call to attention scenarios where duplication is likely and escalate to a capable exception handler.

 

  1. You are getting sick and tired of scrambling to get stuff together for the auditors.  – Hey, come on, they’re people too.  But why not just give them access to the documents they need in a nice, convenient portal, that doesn’t require you to pull one of your AP team members off task and put them into step and fetch mode.  Capable accounts payable software does exactly that and will allow you to create a secure, auditor specific view where you can push any necessary invoices, credit memos, etc. that they might need to pore over.

 

  1. You find yourself guesstimating spend forecasts (accruals) at the end of the month on open invoices. – Tsk, tsk, not that this is altogether uncommon, but when you have the data from invoices that are immediately accessible to  you on command, you can much more accurately compile what the picture of your spend actually looks like…anytime…all the time.  Thus, the whole guessing game that typical accrual forecasting has traditionally been is radically redone.

 

  1. You find yourself shuffling through piles of paper to keep track of problem invoices.  – Sure, everyone wants invoices to be simple to understand, approve, and pay.  The problem starts as soon as something goes haywire on an invoice, whether the invoice quantities, pricing, or other details are off, and that kicks off a whole trouble shooting process that rests squarely on the AP department’s shoulders. It’s times like these where being able to set an invoice to digital pause or help request is huge, because it takes away from the whole TBD pile that most people just lump on the corner of their desk by the empty Diet Dr. Pepper cans and post-it notes.

If you find yourself in any of these situations and you're looking for ways to break the pattern, then check us out here.

 

Free eBook on AP Automation vs E-Invoicing:  What's Right For My Business?

 


 

Read More

Topics: Accounts Payable Automation, ap software, ap automation

Subscribe to Email Updates

Posts by Topic

see all