“If you ain’t first, you’re last.” The line comes from “Talladega Nights: The Ricky Bobby Story,” a Will Ferrell comedy that pokes some good-natured fun at the NASCAR circuit. It was spoken by that scholar and gentleman Ricky Bobby himself, and he may have been onto something here: In accounts payable as in life (and stock car racing), there are winners and well … people who are last. There’s nothing wrong with not being at the front of the pack every second of every day, but over time the cost of watching your peers pass you by will pile up.
Because, if you’re not automating at all, you’re unfortunately behind. That means your costs, your inefficiency and your fraud risk are all rising with each passing year. If you are automating, though, you need to make sure you’re doing so in a way that gives you at least a good shot at being at the front of the pack. After all, if you ain’t winning the AP automation race, you’ll be last.
You’re likely winning if...
· You’re using primarily ACH payments. Not all these payments are created equal, but if you’re using electronic methods instead of checks, you’re still ahead of a significant number of your peers.
· You’re earning rebates on your AP (Accounts Payable) spend. It’s an underrated piece of the puzzle for accounts payable teams but getting rebates back on every payment can add up to tens of thousands of dollars per year. At Paymode-X, we’ve seen customers invest that money in new team members, needed software upgrades and occasionally a sweet holiday party.
· You’re protected against fraud. Every year, fraud among businesses goes up by an alarming number, and those losses can cripple even large enterprises. If you’re working with a solution that can keep bad actors at bay by securing both ends of the transaction and protecting supplier bank account details, you’re potentially lapping some of your peers.
· You’re automating everything. From invoice receipt, capture and approval to payment approvals and remittance, if you’re not asking an employee in your office or one working for your provider to manually enter data and circulate items for signoff, you’re saving a ton of time. You’re also ahead of your peers, some of whom might be working with “AP automation” providers who are just running the same manual processes with different people.
· You’re making life easier for suppliers. Gone are the days when you could just strongarm your suppliers into accepting your payment terms. Now there’s value in valuing your business relationships, and you realize that value by offering more value to your suppliers. I used that word far too many times there, but the idea is that your suppliers are getting paid faster, given better remittance, and gain the ability to track payment statuses, and that value (there it is again) means they’re happier and have fewer questions for you.
You’re likely falling behind if...
Any of the bullet points above don’t ring true. Even one of them.
The reality is that the ability to automate your payments and be more secure, more efficient and generate revenue while keeping the rest of your business and your key suppliers happy has become urgent. If you’re not taking full advantage of technology that exists to make life easier for your accounts payable team, then the pace car is probably outpacing you.
There’s no shame in that unless you let that situation persist. The simple truth is that the gap between the efficiency, security and cost-savings enjoyed by the winners in the AP automation race and those just a few steps behind is getting worse with every passing year. If you’re not leading the race, it’s worth asking what you need to do to get to the pole position.
Related topicsAp Automation
Paul McMeekin, VP solutions marketing and channel sales enablement, has a passion for building high performing teams and disciplined marketing which has been proven to efficiently grow the business. This is achieved through formulating key strategies, precise market positioning, creating unique value props and executing campaigns.