AP Automation Approval: Going from Nay to Yay!
Winning senior management approval for an accounts payable automation solution can feel daunting. As with any project, stakeholders will raise objections to your automation proposal. Don't let common objections to deploying an automation platform bog down the approval process.
Effectively responding to objections is key to winning approval. Here are the four most common objections to deploying a fully automated accounts payable platform, and how to overcome them.
- “We already use scan-and-capture technology.”
Full accounts payable automation delivers big savings over scan-and-capture technology. The Hackett Group’s benchmark data finds that businesses that currently scan their invoices save $2.28 per invoice by migrating to full automation. Businesses that use scan-and-capture technologies (such as optical character recognition) save $1.26 per invoice by migrating to electronic invoicing.
- “We do not want to layoff accounts payable staff.”
The process efficiencies provided by full accounts payable automation enables businesses to eliminate manual tasks. Some businesses leverage improvements in staff productivity to reduce staff through attrition. More commonly, businesses reallocate accounts payable staff to value-added activities such as working capital management, spend management and data analysis and reporting.
- “Our invoice volume is too low to justify the cost of full accounts payable automation.”
Most businesses that receive at least 30,000 invoices annually, and have a staff of at least three full-time equivalents, achieve payback on their accounts payable automation investments in one year or less, the Association for Image and Information Management reports. Businesses of all sizes, and across all industries, have achieved payback on automation investments in less than three years.
- “Our suppliers don’t have the technical expertise to submit invoices electronically.”
Most suppliers find electronic invoicing solutions easy-to-use. And fully automated accounts payable platforms smooth the migration to electronic invoicing by receiving invoices in any format, from any source, including image, fax, e-mail and electronic invoicing. In fact, the biggest barrier to the supplier adoption of electronic invoicing is the fees that some solutions charge suppliers to use the service. Sixty-five percent of businesses identify these fees as the top reason suppliers will not enroll in electronic invoicing, The Hackett Group’s 2015 E-Invoicing Supplier Onboarding Poll reports. The good news is that many full automation solutions do not charge suppliers any fees.