Today, automating back office tasks like AP vendor invoice processing represents a relatively low-cost, low risk opportunity for companies to lower costs, boost efficiency and gain better control and visibility over their finances. The business case for these kinds of projects are usually straight-forward: cost reduction, process optimization, compliance and auditability, delivered without the need for major systems overhaul.
That doesn’t mean that these types of projects are fool-proof, however. To keep your project on time, within budget, with demonstrable cost savings and efficiency gains, we’ve compiled a few key insights and best practices to help avoid common pitfalls on your way to an automated future for your AP vendor invoices.
Pitfall 1: A lack of understanding of your current AP invoice costs and cycle times
The old Peter Drucker adage, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure” applies to accounts payable processes. Before you cite industry statistics on ROI for AP automation or propose an ROI in your business case, do the math and take a hard look at your current processes and the cost/effort involved.
That way, you’ll be able to establish benchmarks for improvement and continually gain new efficiencies through automation and process optimization.
Pitfall 2: A lack of understanding of the vendor’s side of the equation
When examining existing processes, make sure to look at the vendor’s experience and look for ways to get them to opt into your new process, either though changes to their processes, or in the form of new incentives that they may offer in exchange for more timely payments or better process visibility.
Pitfall 3: Ignoring security, compliance and auditability
While efficiency generally leads the discussion around AP automation, companies should look closely at how automation can standardize processes and support process visibility from start to finish. Beyond ensuring that you take time and effort out of the process up to the point of cutting a check, make sure you can readily trace the process backwards to identify errors, exceptions and potential compliance risks.
Pitall 4: Failing to identify a complete solution
Not all AP automation solutions are created equally. Don’t get distracted by pretty interfaces for management approval if the solution still requires your AP team to manually key in invoice information at the front or back end of the process. Look for a solution that can deliver true end-to-end process automation, from the receipt of an invoice, through approval routing, all the way to ERP system transaction creation, with minimal human intervention in between.
Companies of all sizes across industries are embracing automation for back office processes. If you’re ready to explore AP automation for your organization, take the next step and contact Artsyl Technologies for a demonstration of InvoiceAction.