I’m a child of the 1980s, or at least enough of one to have old photos where my parents have me wearing the 1986 England World Cup shirt. It has been amusing (and more than a little nostalgic) to watch the styles and movie franchises return in the present day.
Of course, not everything from the 80s should come back, and here I am specifically thinking about fanny packs and mullets (I mean, it seems like it is a thing these days). Even more than that, not everything from the 80s should still be around, and here I’m thinking accounts payable processes.
Look around your office. If you’re seeing sleek laptops instead of bulky CRT monitors or even typewriters, you know how far technology has come. Now look at your coworkers on the AP team and ask yourself if they’re taking advantage of those cutting-edge gains when they receive invoices, look for approvals and send out checks. If the answer is no, as it is for the 81% of businesses still making at least occasional paper check payments, then you may not be as far from the 80s as you’d like to think.
In the past four decades we’ve made incredible technological progress, but if your accounts payable team is a laggard, then maybe you should rock the mullet and wear the fanny pack?
Here’s a very quick checklist to see if that dawning realization that you’re behind the times is a dire one or just a minor one.
Paper invoices versus automated methods
Waiting for a paper invoice to arrive in the mail, opening it, checking it against the purchase order, processing it, shopping it around for approvals and exception checks and then actually getting around to paying it can take time. Our own Blaine Sanderson estimates that for many businesses, it’s upwards of 4 minutes just to process one invoice, and that’s for the ones that aren’t overly complex.
Compare that to automating everything with Paymode-X, where machine learning allows the system to intake and process the average invoice in seconds, and then routes them automatically for approval. That technology didn’t exist in the 80s, but everyone with a Flock of Seagulls haircut would’ve killed for it if it did.
Paper checks versus digital payments
Ensuring you have the correct amount, filling out or sending batches of checks to a printer, and having them stuffed into envelopes or sent via the mail is a slow process. Your suppliers hate having to wait, there’s absolutely zero rebate or early payment discount potential with checks, and fraud is an increasing problem for checks that are intercepted.
In the year 2022, meanwhile, you can use Paymode-X’s premium ACH or virtual card payments to send automated payments that open rebate and early payment discount potential, both process and arrive more quickly and build supplier appreciation and trust. With the secure network of 500,000+ businesses we process for, too, there’s complete end-to-end fraud protection, so you don’t have to worry about a damaging or even ruinous intercepted payment.
Excel versus better reporting
Excel was launched in 1985, believe it or not. How nice would it be to leave the manual and tedious reporting you do with it in the past? Paymode-X even sends reports directly to your inbox to prevent you from needing to sit in front of a keyboard hunting and pecking your way through reconciliation and report generation.
This is far from the most exhaustive list of differences between legacy processes and the innovative impacts offered by solutions like Paymode-X, but it’s an eye-opening one if you’re still largely plodding along in a paper-based environment. The point isn’t that you should feel bad about that, but it is to urge you to embrace the time savings, cost savings, rebate potential, and fraud protection that the latest technology can swiftly deliver. That’s exactly the message we’ll be delivering at the IOFM (Institute of Finance and Management) Fall AP Conference & Expo, but you don’t need to—and shouldn’t--wait for the autumn to start thinking about modernizing accounts payable.
We can love the 80s and not want to ever live through them again. For AP teams, anything less than leaving the slow, the manual, and the inefficient four decades in the past is a disservice to you and your business.
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.