Technology really is your secret weapon in Accounts Payable.
Sometimes introducing new tech can make people nervous because they think it will replace their job, but technology doesn’t replace your AP team and their skills, it enhances what they do and transforms the way they work. It removes manual processes, tedious, time-consuming and repetitive tasks so that your team can focus on work that requires their expertise and experience.
Why would you use someone with qualifications in accounting and finance to enter data, print out copies of invoices, chase suppliers for missing PO numbers, or chase managers for invoice approvals? You should be using their skills for more critical tasks such as spotting opportunities to save money or increase revenue, and giving them the time and resources to act on them.
The right tools for the job
If you want to improve accuracy, reduce fraud, and improve internal controls while meeting strict deadlines (think month-end reconciliation, for example), you need to give your team the right tools for the job. Automate data entry, automate and streamline processes, improve access to files and information (anytime, anywhere), utilise 3-way matching and verification, and act on the insights gained from real-time data and analytics.
Let the tech do the ‘grunt work’ and spot the anomalies, errors, duplicate invoices, missing information (which on average only affect about 20% of your invoices) and give your team the time to deal with them efficiently.
Better customer service
The more information you have to hand, the better customer service you can provide. For example, if your team can check an invoice’s status in real-time, they can respond to supplier and colleague queries straight away.
Data and analytics
Improving access to data and analytics allows FDs, CFOs, and the AP team to improve decision making, gain visibility of cash flow, spot trends in spending, and help with forecasting, budgets and planning. The more real-time information you have, the more strategic you can be. Your team can ask questions and get instant answers. Which supplier are you spending the most money with? Can you negotiate a better deal? Where can the business save money?
With more insight and visibility of how and where the business is spending money, teams can plan ahead, be proactive, and respond quickly to change. Whether that’s the changing business landscape nationally or changes in the supply chain globally, access to real-time data and information will improve decision making and strategy.
One of the most important factors for effective collaboration is how information flows throughout the business. The right technology improves collaboration with other departments such as Procurement, by improving access to information and file-sharing (essential when your teams work remotely). It also provides transparency across all aspects of the business, such as account reconciliation, issuing and managing purchase orders, and tracking deliveries.
Power to the AP People
Last, but definitely not least – get your AP team onboard! Make sure they understand the role that technology has to play in the department and how it will change the way they are working – for the better. Ensure they are trained and supported because any AP transformation starts with your team. If they understand how new technology will make their job easier and more enjoyable, if it becomes part of their day-to-day routine, it’s going to succeed!
The future of AP is digital! Don’t fear it. Embrace it and see where it can take your business.
If you want to find out more about the right technology to transform your Accounts Payable can help your business, get in touch.
Let’s talk AP.