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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.
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.
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.
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?
We brought together the most prominent thought leaders on payments and banking to share their predictions on what the next decade has in store. From Open Banking, to more sophisticated fraud schemes, to real-time payments, to the rise of artificial intelligence and process automation... they all agree the innovation and shifts in the marketplace will require you to adapt and evolve.
Finance executives always talk about Accounts Payable’s costs, many inefficiencies, and risks. If they only knew how easy it was to increase AP’s efficiency, security, and profitability with Bottomline’s end-to-end AP Automation solution. Watch this 2-minute video to find out how AP automation can help you.
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