3 things your AP staff can do instead of dealing with paper problems

Files in storage

Oh, paper. We’re 16 percent finished with the 21st Century, and there you are, still slowing things down. Really?

I’m sure you’re familiar with the disadvantages of paper. For example, it makes you or your staff spend excessive time indexing documents and data into important electronic systems like your ERP. It also keeps people busy:

  • Searching
  • Sorting
  • Filing
  • Collating
  • Entering data
  • Fixing data
  • Searching again

It’s frustrating. But there’s an answer.

With the right AP solution, your AP department immediately captures and digitizes paper. No more searching, sorting, filing…

 What you can do with the remaining 84 percent of the 21st Century

By electronically capturing documents and information, your organization can also manage all of it in one system, prime it for processes and store it in compliance with industry regulations. You ensure easy access and automate standard processes, like indexing.

With AP automation, here’s what your staff could be doing instead of dealing with paper:

  1. Working with internal “problem children”

Do you have employees who consistently “forget” to request POs? Do you constantly receive invoices from vendors who aren’t in the system or on the approved vendor list because someone in your organization didn’t follow procedures?

With AP automation, you utilize workflow management to ensure that documentation is complete, correct and ready to continue through processes. If work is inaccurate or incomplete, workflow automatically flags it and sends it to the right people for adjustment.

This gives you the time to retrain employees, if necessary. You’ll also have the visibility to measure processes, helping you identify and address any underlying processes bottlenecks.

  1. Working with external “problem children”

Do you have vendors who submit invoices without POs when your process requires that they do so? How about vendors who consistently have errors on their invoices?

With more time, AP staff can work with these people to find out if they don’t understand the process, if there is an underlying problem or if they just aren’t taking the time to fill out all the necessary information correctly. Educating your vendors about your payables processes and policies empowers you to proactively resolve and prevent repeatable errors or bottlenecks that are slowing things down.

  1. Building partner and vendor relationships

Freeing your staff from the time constraints of the paper-based world allows your AP staff to work more closely with or communicate more with your high-priority partners and vendors. This helps you to continue strengthening relationships or investigate why issues with certain third-parties occur to prevent them from happening again in the future.

A robust AP solution will also help you identify mutually beneficial opportunities with partners or vendors – such as software integrations or early payment discounts in return for faster payment.

There you go. Three things everyone would rather do instead of searching, sorting, filing, collating, entering data, fixing data and then starting the process over again, searching, sorting, filing…

This century, let’s improve our processes. And let’s save the paper for the trees.

Danielle Simer

Danielle Simer

Danielle Simer is a marketing portfolio manager at Hyland. Her mission is to share best practices and evangelize the power of enterprise content management (ECM) as a tool to automate paper-based processes and improve operations across accounting and finance, human resources, and contract management. Danielle joined Hyland after more than six years with a research and advisory firm devoted to helping senior executives manage their departments and teams more effectively. She received her bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and her MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

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