By Kristin Parshay, Brown Smith Wallace, and Christopher Gaia, DataServ

The last blog in our five-part series on “Building the Right Approach to Paperless AP” is a bit less “prescriptive” than the previous four parts. We hope we have provided you with some perspective, tools, and a high-level process that can help you launch and complete a successful AP automation project that eliminates paper, enhances controls, reduces cost, and improves the overall user experience for this important process. This final installment in the series identifies some observations we have about the characteristics of successful AP automation projects.

Our past experience with automation projects clearly demonstrates that there are several paths to success. While this is true, we have found that all successful projects share these common characteristics:

  • They use these projects to improve the process, not to just automate existing inefficiencies.
  • They implement a process that accepts all invoice forms, thus eliminating multiple processes.
  • They manage the “people change” aspects exceptionally well - if users don’t use the system, or you do not eliminate past practices, you will never achieve the value envisioned. Plan to put your team members in the best position to succeed.
  • They provide “wins” early in the process - demonstrating value early builds momentum and simplifies adoption (who does not want to be on a winning team?).
  • They provide the project team the opportunity to actively participate in the selection of the technology partner. The use of scripted demonstrations, tailored to your unique situation, provides an “apples-to-apples” comparison and creates an environment for buy-in on the choice of your automation partner.

Now is a great time to take advantage of the value available through Accounts Payable automation. Follow this approach to turn that opportunity into reality! If you've got any questions, contact us at

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