3 Lesser Known Benefits of AP Automation
The benefits of automating accounts payable can be far reaching for real estate companies. It can increase efficiency, improve visibility, mitigate risk, and allow you to generate more accurate financial reporting. These improvements may represent only part of the picture, however. Several less conspicuous outcomes can result from moving to paperless AP.
- As your company has grown, you’ve likely acquired new offices who each maintain their own set of standard operating procedures for running AP. Managing this on an ongoing basis can quickly become unwieldy, as you may find yourself with as many processes as you do department managers. With an automation tool, you’ll develop a centralized processing structure with rules that standardize invoice categorization, routing and approval, matching, and GL coding. This allows you to eliminate rogue, outlying processes that can cause confusion, take up an inordinate amount of time, or jeopardize supplier relationships because of long invoice lag time. By handling each step in a systematic and coordinated way, you’ll also be able to more clearly identify where improvements might be made. This orderly structure allows executives to make decisions more confidently, and roll-out changes that benefit the entire organization more readily.
- An AP automation solution can also help you avoid the hidden costs that plague many businesses. This off-contract or maverick spend can go unnoticed if you have no systematic way to match invoices with purchase orders, research invoice data, validate purchase authorization, and track purchasing and budget compliance. A procure-to-pay solution allows you to utilize purchase orders to confirm if funds are available before a purchase is made. Automation software also includes reporting that will provide you with real time access to purchasing and spend data across your organization to make more informed decisions. Leading AP solutions providers will offer an intuitive interface to simplify ordering and facilitate reasonable approval cycle times, which will make it easier to gain the buy-in of your employees who are being encouraged to use the software.
- Your AP Team will find themselves with more time to dedicate to strategic initiatives for the business, since they’ll no longer be performing data entry, chasing down approvals, or digging for hard-to-find information for suppliers. There is no shortage of projects on which they’ll now be able to focus. They can assess your established KPIs with suppliers, measuring and analysing whether agreed upon objectives were achieved. Team members can also research ways to achieve further cost savings for the business such as consolidating purchases with certain suppliers. With newfound bandwidth to analyze data and reporting, AP employees can become key resources for the CFO. As these executives are called upon to participate in high-level decisions and help chart long-term strategy, AP will be equipped to furnish information and insight into overall company performance.
Automating AP can do more than save you time and money by speeding up your processes - it can have an unforeseen positive ripple effect throughout your business.