SUBMITTED BY Troy Hupp, APPSC

Are you a financial leader who faces employee retention challenges? Chances are, if you lead a team that includes accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) specialists, turnover and retention are quite high. The costs of turnover can be devastating to any organization. Most managers already know that recruiting and training new employees is time-consuming and costly. But, additionally, high turnover in your AP and AR departments can lower productivity across your organization, delay financial reporting and decision-making, and may also trigger further defections among the remaining team members.

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Why Do AP and AR Departments Experience High Turnover?

The primary reason for high turnover rates in accounts payable and accounts receivable can be traced back to the repetitive, labor-intensive, and time-consuming work involved. Some employees may view AP and AR work as mundane and exhausting. In addition, some AP employees are hounded by suppliers regarding overdue payments. The AP team will feel the stress if the company ever becomes short of cash or slow on payments.

As for the AR team, they need to ‘chase’ due payments with customers. Some of them, when being reminded of due payments not made, will get aggravated and they often become quite aggressive and non-cooperative. This will further exacerbate the AR work problem further.

With all these issues, it is no wonder why the turnover rate for these 2 departments is higher than other departments in the company.

3 Ways to Attract and Retain AP and AR Staff 

So many of your managerial and organizational problems can be solved if you can hire strong AP and AR talent and then reduce turnover. The Controllers Council recommends three ways to attract and retain finance staff.

1. Offer a Sense of Purpose

Research has shown that Gen Z and Millennials want to make a positive impact on the world. If they view AP and AR work as repetitive and clerical, they may not consider it as a career. Accounting and finance departments will have to offer applicants a broader purpose and be clear about organizational values. Employees will be attracted to organizations whose values align with their own and make them feel like they are contributing to a greater good while at work. If you value diversity and innovation, for example, your organization should invest in those areas and make them priorities.

2. Offer a Clear Path to Advancement

Most people expect to start at an entry-level role and progress upwards over the course of their careers. Unless your company can provide a clear path for their future and offer incentives for high performance, many employees may simply step from a job to join another company. Unfortunately, many AP and AR staff get stuck processing invoices and performing other manual tasks instead of climbing the corporate ladder. First, you can free up your AP and AR staff to do more meaningful, strategic work by automating your AP workflow. APIA (Accounts Payable Invoice Automation) means your employees will no longer be required to hand process thousands of invoices, which can be extremely tedious and time-consuming. After you have alleviated their more mundane tasks, work with your AP and AR talent to discover what their career goals are, and how you can help them develop the higher-level skills and experience they need to achieve those goals.

3. Offer Remote Working Options

All workers want to achieve a work-life balance. Now more than ever, employees are seeking out remote working options to achieve this balance. While you do not have to offer permanent remote positions, your employees will appreciate greater flexibility in their required office hours. When you invest in APIA solutions, your employees will have access to the same data and documents at home as they did when they were in the office. They will also be able to access that information on different devices, including phones and tablets.

Ready to invest in APIA to help reduce turnover in your AP and AR department? We can help! Contact us.

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