A Finance Team's Guide To Account Payable Automation

accounts payable automation
Considering the fast-paced, growing digital landscape and the influx of automation tools in the market, it's easy to feel as if there's a lot you don't know when it comes to automation. However, it's also more manageable than you might think. Especially if you have the right partner.

For starters, instead of focusing on what you don't know about automation (yet), let's focus on one universal shared truth. You want to pay your suppliers on time and correctly - preferably avoiding the cash leakages and payment errors that are often part and parcel of the AP process. That's pretty straightforward. However, when it comes to many traditional Accounts Payable (AP) processes, the manual work required in authorising supplier payments is anything but simple.

Even for the most hardworking AP teams, specific manual (and tedious and time-consuming) processes can result in costly errors and hinder them from achieving their objectives. For example, think about the current state of your document capture, matching and approval workflows. As it currently stands (without AP automation), you most likely felt your stomach turn when thinking about how much work those simple terms encapsulate. More importantly, if done manually, these processes are prone to errors, leading to delayed payments, duplicate or incorrect payments, missed discounts, and dissatisfied suppliers.

However, telling you that your AP teams are struggling doesn't mean much. Instead, avoid the hidden price you pay for not automating the Accounts Payable process. Here's what you need to do about it.

Enter AP automation.

What is AP automation?

Simply put, AP automation automates the 'rule' and liberates your team from the repetitive. Here's what we mean by that. By implementing AP automation, you're streamlining and accelerating your invoice processing workflow. But it's not just about efficiency; it's about accuracy and intentionality.

Automation tools extract data from invoices, match them against purchase orders and GRNs, and route them through digital approval workflows with unprecedented speed. This boosts efficiency and enables faster payment cycles, greater accuracy, improved supplier relationships, and an increase in early settlement discounts. And did we mention your team's workload?

Your AP team is brilliant; allow them to be

Within the finance team lies a powerhouse of strategic thinkers, rarely pushed to their full potential simply because of a dire need for more capacity. However, by freeing up time and resources previously dedicated to manual tasks, AP automation empowers finance teams to shift their focus to more purposeful and value-driven tasks, allowing them to contribute more effectively to the organisation's overall financial strategy - a game-changer for financial management.

The immediate (and long-term) benefits of AP automation

Ultimately, AP automation brings about a needed and recognisable shift. Here's what that would look like for the AP team.

Cost savings

The cost of manual AP processes is not limited to labor hours. It includes the expenses associated with late payments, duplicate or incorrect payments and the resources required to rectify errors. AP Automation significantly reduces these costs by eliminating manual interventions, preventing errors, flagging mismatched supporting documentation, optimising cash flow management, and capitalising on early payment discounts.

Supplier satisfaction

The finance team is directly linked to supplier satisfaction. Naturally, on-time and accurate payments contribute significantly to supplier relationships. Through AP automation, finance teams can avoid risking good relationships. They can rest assured that suppliers are paid on time, fostering goodwill and potentially opening the door to negotiation for better terms.

Improved cash flow management

Through AP automation, finance teams gain real-time visibility into financial transactions, meaning better control and transparency over cash flow. By leveraging accurate and up-to-date information in mere seconds, every team member can also have their finger on the pulse of finances, determining when and how to disburse funds, optimising working capital, and improving overall financial health.

Ready to make the switch? We've got you covered! The first step? Consult with leadership. Leadership's role in this process is crucial as they can provide the necessary approvals and support for the implementation of AP automation.

In fact, should you wish to provide them with additional information, feel free to share this article as well : What CFOs need to know about Accounts Payable Automation Software.

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