The dramatic shift to remote working and unrelenting pressure for businesses to become more flexible and to do more with less, has made it imperative that accounts payable departments automate. But the process of a digital transformation can make even the most tech-savvy accounts payable leader feel overwhelmed, fearful, or intimidated. Finding that right solution and partner is only the first step in getting the full results of automation. Achieving optimal results from accounts payable automation can be an uphill battle unless a department chooses a solution and a technology partner who will ensure a smooth implementation.
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Below I outline some strategies to make sure you get the results you want:
- Look for tailored solutions.
- Be wary of vendors that offer limited training.
- Choose a technology provider that will help you snatch low-hanging fruit.
- Remember that you can’t manage what you can’t measure.
- Make sure a solution can stay ahead of change.
Look for tailored solutions.
Tailored solutions are the approach that is “just right” for most accounts payable departments. These solutions combine proven baseline functionality built on best practices, with workflows that can be easily configured to meet the unique business needs of your accounts payable department. Avoiding complicated customization projects and inflexible software for a solution that is tailored to your department’s requirements will help keep your business case on track.
Be wary of vendors that offer limited training.
Changing the way that an accounts payable department operates can be hard for frontline staff, especially when that staff works remotely. That is why it is critical that accounts payable departments partner with a technology provider that offers the training necessary to get the team up to speed fast, no matter where they work. Best-in-class technology providers offer live online training, tailored to the needs of different users (e.g. approvers and power users), as well as on-demand videos that users can access at their convenience to learn the system or get a refresher on certain functionality. Also, the best technology providers will offer to hold multiple training sessions during the onboarding process to accommodate the busy schedules of different types of users.
Choose a technology provider that will help you snatch low-hanging fruit.
The best technology providers offer an approach to implementation that tackles straight-forward transactions and processes first – automating them in as little as a few days – and then tackles more complex work that requires additional time and resources to tailor the solution. This Quick Start approach enables departments to achieve early wins and avoid having their project bogged down as their staff and the technology provider work to automate complex processes.
Remember that you can’t manage what you can’t measure.
The best accounts payable automation solutions include built-in, easy-to-use, easy-to-understand, and easy-to-share analytics to help decision makers closely monitor their operations and identify areas that need attention. They also provide real-time insights in aging, invoice matching, and vendor not found. With these insights, a department can help ensure payback on their automation investments and achieve continuous process improvement.
Make sure a solution can stay ahead of change.
Whether it is new ways of working and new operational challenges, or new risks and new reporting demands, things are changing faster these days. Be sure to choose a solution that can keep up. Understand how upgrades are prioritized and delivered, and what role your IT department might need to play in deploying them. Best-in-class solutions leverage a Software as a Service architecture that make upgrades and support a breeze; upgrades can be deployed effortlessly, at any time, from any location. Also ask technology providers about their product roadmap. And lean towards providers with a proven track record of innovation in automation.
Following the steps described above will help ensure that you choose a solution and a partner that will help you achieve the optimal results you need from accounts payable automation.