In this blog series, we’re exploring the importance of trust in your AP process – and how the adoption of AP automation software promotes trust and develops strong relationships in your organization, resulting in more efficient processes and better results.
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It’s common and natural for the Accounts Payable and Purchasing teams to have trust issues. That does not mean that those issues cannot or should not be resolved. In fact, this is perhaps the area where the greatest improvement opportunity for trust exists.
Why do these two teams often find themselves in conflict? For one thing, these teams are highly interdependent but often don’t have clear processes for resolving discrepancies efficiently, which comes at a high cost to all concerned.
For instance, the Purchasing team is responsible for developing and maintaining vendor relationships; their ability to negotiate terms depends on those relationships. So, if the AP team fails to handle an invoice accurately and on time, it disrupts those relationships.
On the other hand, if Purchasing doesn’t set up a PO correctly, then AP will not and should not pay the invoice until that issue is resolved. If Purchasing fails to update pricing on a PO and the difference exceeds established tolerances, then AP will not and should not pay the invoice until the exception is resolved.
The teams are also often siloed with no shared reporting relationships, so there is no channel for accountability or communication, and there is no natural choice of mediator when conflict occurs. Yet without Purchasing there would be no need for AP, and without AP, vendors would never get paid.
So, they need each other to exist, and they need a high level of performance and visibility from each other to be efficient and effective. But typically, there is no bridge that helps them support each other to achieve that high level of performance.
That is where AP automation comes in. One of the basic tenants of trust is transparency. When all parties have access to the same information, it quickly brings visibility to areas where trust is absent. It also provides a foundation for trust that cannot be present when there is no visibility.
With AP automation, all users can see who has an invoice, who is taking action on that invoice, and who still needs to take action on the invoice to get it appropriately paid. There is no possibility of someone holding crucial information hostage or failing to communicate the status of an invoice.
Whether the trust issues between your Accounts Payable and Purchasing teams are due to misunderstandings, siloed communications, or perhaps actual weak links, automation can bridge that gap and create a culture of accountability and trust.
This improved level of trust between your AP and Purchasing teams also has the benefit of creating better experiences and stronger relationships between your organization and your vendors. Explore that connection in our next post in this series: The Impact of Trust: Your Organization and Your Vendors.
Read our previous post in this series here: The Impact of Trust: Creating Better Experiences with AP Automation