Automating the AP Process
There’s no reason to still be clanking through a manual accounts payable (AP) process when a fully automated solution is at your fingertips. An automated AP process is significantly faster and reduces the chances of errors and late payments. It also frees people to focus on higher-value activities and helps you save money by taking advantage of early-payment discounts.
Yet, despite all these pluses, many organizations still struggle to launch projects that take advantage of the benefits of automation. Our new eBook It’s Time You Automated Accounts Payable – Here’s How is designed with those organizations in mind. It’s dedicated to helping you overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of automation success. The time to act is now! Here are some of the most common AP automation roadblocks and advice on how to overcome them:
Other Corporate Priorities
Many AP automation projects compete with other capital initiatives that require funding. Being number 11 on a priority list that only funds the top 10 projects can sometimes delay an AP automation project for years. Roadblock Buster: Build a well-thought-out business case using resources such as case studies from The Institute of Financial Operations.
Not Knowing Where to Start
Cleaning up inefficient processes, reducing paper, and building an enterprise-wide solution are daunting challenges that can overwhelm even the most stalwart automation advocate. Roadblock Buster: Start small by automating a single process or location instead of trying to slay the whole dragon.
Being Intimidated by the Technology Options
ERP solutions, third-party solutions that integrate with your ERP, vendor portals, workflow, electronic data interchange (EDI), optical character recognition (OCR), Software as a Service (SaaS), supplier network, etc. – the alphabet soup of options can be daunting. Roadblock Buster: Don’t be intimidated! Get educated about your options and choose a strategy before beginning the vendor selection process.
Automation projects represent great opportunities to lessen your workload while improving performance. The difficulty is getting from “here to there” when you and your team already have full-time jobs! Unfortunately, time is a fixed resource – you have all the time you will ever have. Roadblock Buster: Seek automation solution providers that provide best practices, complete services, flexible startup options and comprehensive support.
Fear of Change
Let’s face it, as painful as the current process might be, it is familiar, and people know where they stand. Automation talk sometimes translates into thoughts of job loss for employees. Roadblock Buster: Plan and get in front of communications. Many companies are automating not to reduce staff but to handle growth and improve profitability. Understand your options early and build the right WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) for your people and organization.
“We were recently acquired, we acquired a company, and we are thinking about changing our ERP…”
Mergers and acquisitions or discussions about significant changes in your ERP can cause organizations to freeze up overnight. While a certain amount of caution is justified, this indecisiveness often leads to years of missed opportunities. Roadblock Buster: Explore SaaS automation solutions that do not require significant IT resources to implement and can scale to the needs and pace of change comfortable to your business.