Consumers have come to expect same-day shipping and instant person-to-person payments, so putting checks in the mail to make payments sounds more dated than ever before. Organizations that have only transformed some of their accounts payable functions risk being left behind, struggling with paper invoices and checks, and keeping unnecessary complexity and risk in their processes.

the state of AP today

Transform your AP function


Most organizations have transformed some of their accounts payable (AP) by automating pieces of the process or certain payments types. However, they still struggle with paper invoices and checks, as well as paper-based processes, which are costly, complex, slow, and error-prone. Indeed, most modern AP departments have a mishmash of antiquated processes and attempts at automation.

Businesses often cobble together distinct technologies, processes, and vendor onboarding approaches for invoice automation and payment automation, which makes visibility across the complete invoice-to-pay life cycle impossible.

If instead you implement an end-to-end integrated solution that streamlines your entire process — from invoice receipt through payment — you can truly transform your AP function. Not only will this solution help drive efficiency and productivity, it will help you optimize working capital, improve your vendor relationships, and maximize payment security.

Several factors are driving businesses to reevaluate how they receive, process, and pay invoices. First, consumers are increasingly comfortable with seamless electronic payments and that expectation for ease and simplicity is seeping into business payments. 

Another factor is cost. Receiving and processing paper-based documents is expensive. Without integrated, fully automated, end-to-end AP solutions, you can struggle to approve invoices for on-time payments, which can mean incurring late fees.

Finally, rising fraud rates are a concern. What’s frightening is that most fraud isn’t caused by technology vulnerabilities, but by human vulnerability, process deficiencies, and social engineering, in which criminals trick employees through non-traditional means. The right technology augmented with improved processes, however, can help you prevent fraud no matter how fraudsters attack.

Make the case for investment

The main benefits of AP transformation


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Streamlines and digitizes your entire invoice to-pay process

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Optimize working capital and monetize accounts payable spend

BT security fraud & risk 161

Drastically reduce your risk of payment fraud and associated losses

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Help your organization stay ahead

5 Keys to Selecting an Accounts Payables Transformation Partner

Transformation requires a big picture approach, and done right, it will help elevate your AP team to their rightful strategic position in your organization. Selecting technology that is easy to implement and integrate into your organization’s current and future systems can protect against obsolescence as new innovations emerge.

Financial gains

Understand the Financial Gains

AP transformation will have a positive financial impact on your organization and the combination of hard cost savings, new discounts captured, and rebates earned on virtual card and ACH transactions can make a compelling business case. As you look at your cost-savings calculations, be sure to take into account often overlooked costs of a manual process, such as positive pay fees paid to your financial institution, the burden of escheatment tracking, staff time spent re-keying information and manually following up on approvals, and the cost of printing and mailing checks.

Having multiple payment types at your disposal (such as virtual card, premium and traditional ACH, and check) and flexibility on payment terms, depending on which payment type a vendor accepts, can help your AP team optimize Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) and working capital.

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Streamline and digitize

Streamline and digitize from invoice to payment

The pinnacle of AP transformation is digitizing the entire AP process, from invoice receipt through payment, in a way that ties in with your core business systems and bank relationships. Your goal should be to digitize every aspect of the process, including on-site or outsourced invoice receipt and pre-processing, matching invoices to purchase orders or non-PO invoices to the appropriate general ledger costs, and streamlining the issuing of payments — whether virtual card, ACH, check, or another method.

Select a technology partner that offers the choice of on-site or outsourced receiving and pre-processing invoices and provides a technical integration option that is right for your business whether through APIs, an ERP connector, file upload, or data transmission. Integration with your ERP system allows you to automatically update invoice status and send and reconcile payments without manual intervention. It also gives you increased visibility across the entire invoice-to-pay process and ensures a single source of truth.

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Vendor adoption

Ensure You’ll Realize Vendor Adoption

If your vendors do no adopt and accept electronic payments, your organization won’t reap the full range of benefits of an automated, streamlined process. Often as AP teams embark on automating processes, they rely on internal staff to “sell” vendors on the benefits of getting paid electronically and gather vendor bank account details with fraud-prone, paper-based forms exchanged by email or fax.

The right AP automation partner manages this process on your behalf, driving vendor adoption through its own network of businesses already transacting electronically and creating outreach campaigns tailored to your organization to those that don’t.

Selecting a solution with multiple electronic payment types helps ensure your vendors get paid in a way that works best for their accounts receivable process. 

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Secure process

Secure Your AP Processes

Fraudsters have successfully infiltrated even the most established and sophisticated organizations, which makes security a critical component of AP transformation. Only a layered approach that includes multiple defense strategies can protect against threats, such as account takeover, social engineering, and BEC.

Adding device fingerprinting technology for those transactions that are at risk can more effectively thwart fraudsters. You can also incorporate user behavior monitoring to identify anomalies that could indicate fraudulent activity and payment risk scoring to identify potential fraud before it even occurs.

Since bank account information is highly susceptible to theft, select a technology partner that can hold this data in a highly encrypted and secure network that adapts to evolving threats. In addition to securely storing bank account information, it is important that a solution partner validates that the banking information provided by your vendor payees is accurate — both at initial sign-up and anytime the account information changes

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Future-proof solution

Future-proof your solution

The payables technology landscape in 2020 is dynamic, and you need to adapt to change quickly. It’s critical to choose a technology provider that can work with your business to scale, add components as needs evolve, and has the power to innovate around new and emerging payment models. A technology provider should be a true partner, with the ability to understand your organization’s needs and offer best 5 practices based on experience to help ensure your AP transformation is a success.

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5 Signs Your Business is Ready for AP Transformation

While AP transformation with an end-to-end integrated solution provides a host of benefits, you first need to evaluate your readiness to embark on the transformation journey.

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, your business is a candidate for AP transformation:

Have you automated the receipt, capture, and workflows of invoice approvals?

Do you currently have separate approaches to virtual card, ACH and check processing?

Are your vendors satisfied with their payment experience including the remittance detail they receive?

Has your business been a victim of a payment fraud attempt?

Does your AP team and accounting leadership have visibility into where invoices and cash are tied up throughout your approval process?

WHY CHANGE

A single AP automation platform streamlines and digitizes the entire invoice-to-pay process to reduce cost, improve efficiency and increase cash visibility.

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