If you have determined that an accounts payable automation solution is right for your organization, congratulations! You have taken the first step to getting out from under a mountain of unnecessary paper. It’ll all be sunshine and smooth sailing from here, right? We’d love it if that were the case but, unfortunately, problems can occur. For more than 20 years DataServ has successfully helped clients achieve the benefits of accounts payable automation. Several companies have become DataServ clients after having failed at previous automation attempts. Based on their experience, as well as our own, we’ve documented what we believe are the top five reasons attempts at AP automation derail, taken directly from our new AP automation eBook, It’s Time You Automated Accounts Payable – Here’s How, which is available for free here:

  1. Automating a poorly designed business process/not following best practices - Spending time and money automating a poorly designed, old or non-standard process will not give you the results you want. You have to start with a good foundation. Additionally, not using your project to install “best practices” tailored for your unique business situation is a missed opportunity.

  2. Lack of effective change management (employees and vendors) - Successful change management requires good communication, effective training and support, a well-conceived and executed plan, a leader, and an automation partner dedicated to your success.

  3. Assuming “the ERP does that” - We hear many stories about how the accounting team were told “don’t worry, the ERP does that,” only to find out later that it does not really fit your operating process, or worse, the functionality does not exist or has to be purchased and implemented separately. In many of these situations, you are left with an incomplete solution and the old manual process – never a good situation.

  4. Failing to build a solution that handles all forms of invoices, particularly paper - For all of the talk about EDI, supplier portals, purchase cards, electronic invoicing, etc., the vast majority of invoices (77 percent) are still paper based, according to a 2011 study by Aberdeen Group. Translating invoices from whatever source into clean data at the beginning of the process is critical to successful automation efforts.

  5. Taking too long to deploy - Budget priorities, leadership direction and IT resources all change over time. Projects that take many months (or even years) to implement rarely maintain the focus, energy, and funding necessary to deliver the promised benefits. Find a solution that provides options for startup. Whether an individual process, or location, or business, having flexible startup options means you can see results quickly and then continue to evolve.

If you have questions about getting started with AP automation, send a message to and we will gladly offer our expertise.


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