5 Benefits of AP Automation Upper Management Needs to Know
Winning the support of key stakeholders for full accounts payable automation is largely a matter of knowing what “buttons” to push.
The technology provides a range of benefits that are sure to appeal to stakeholders such as procurement, treasury, and more. Emphasizing the value of these benefits – in other words, pushing the right buttons – will help you win over key stakeholders for your proposal.
Here are some the top 5 buttons to push in order to get everyone on the same page:
Increased staff productivity
Seventy-five percent of CFOs measure accounts payable performance based on productivity metrics such as the number of invoices processed and the number of payments made, Ardent Partners reports. Full accounts payable automation increases productivity through higher first-pass match rates. Matching rules can be set based on business tolerances, and any unmatched invoices can be electronically routed for resolution. And full accounts payable automation streamlines exceptions handling by providing upfront line-level on-hold reasons for unmatched invoices. All of this reduces manual data entry, eliminates paper shuffling, and avoids the need for staff to hunt for information.
Better liquidity management and cash flow analysis
Liquidity management and cash flow analysis are the top job priorities of controllers, the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM) reports. Full accounts payable automation enhances liquidity management and cash flow analysis by accelerating invoice cycle times, providing real-time visibility into invoice information, and enabling buyers to dynamically offer their suppliers early-payment discounts on approved invoices. Moreover, the faster cycle times enabled by full accounts payable automation eliminate the late-payment penalties that chip away at profit margins.
Stronger supplier relationships
Procurement knows that stronger supplier relationships can reduce the cost of goods and services. Full accounts payable automation improves supplier relationships by providing one clear communication method for all suppliers, regardless of their method of invoice submission. An online portal provides suppliers with confirmation that the buyer received their invoice, and enables the supplier to electronically view the status of their invoices and payments 24/7, eliminating calls and e-mails to the buyer’s accounts payable staff and making cash flow forecasting easier and more reliable. Invoice information is available to suppliers from invoice receipt, through final payment. Exceptions also can be managed through an online portal, eliminating back-and-forth phone calls and e-mails.
Less IT burden
Most IT departments spend most of their workday maintaining and supporting existing systems, studies show. That leaves little time for IT to support the deployment of new systems. Fully automated accounts payable solutions that are deployed in the cloud relieve IT’s burden by eliminating the need for hardware and software installation, providing online training and support, and automatically upgrading software and security.
Full accounts payable automation provides auditors with better visibility into who is paying, to whom, and when. Accounts payable solutions also increase compliance, control, and tracking by:
- restricting the ability to approve invoices and initiate payments
- separating operator duties to ensure checks and balance
- creating audit trails of all activities within the system, including invoice approval and payment initiation
- providing visibility into all processes
- safeguarding sensitive data
- making it easier to reconcile accounts more frequently
- facilitating electronic payments, which are less prone to fraud