3 ways you can start an AP automation revolution

ap-automation-revolution

Driving down costs has always been a primary goal for accounts payable. But for most AP departments, costs abound due to inefficient, paper-based invoice processing.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

During his session at the Institute of Finance & Management’s (IOFM) Accounts Payable & Procure-to-Pay Conference, Henry Ijams, managing director at PayStream Advisors, explained to attendees that transforming AP is a revolution – and you can foster it if you follow some basic guiding principles.

Here are three ways, according to Ijams, you can transform your AP invoice processing with automation:

1. Define what needs to change
The top AP efficiency thieves are approvals, routing and bad information. Together, they eat up about 60 percent to 70 percent of your costs.

If you want to lower your costs, you need to figure out how to drive down these efficiency killers. One of the most beneficial ways to achieve this is with an automated invoice approval system.

These solutions automate the entire invoice lifecycle – from automatically capturing invoice content and updating your ERP or accounting system to routing invoices for review and approval.

2. Figure out how you’ll get there
Innovators have long-term transformation plans, according to Ijams. He suggests putting metrics around goals such as:

  • Long-term paperless targets
  • Stakeholder engagement strategies
  • Metrics to define success
  • Process change

By implementing achievable goals, you’ll begin to see a decrease in invoice processing costs over time.

3. Determine who will be part of the change
As Ijams noted, some of the people you have in AP today won’t want to be involved in the change. That’s okay, because you can strategically relocate them to other business areas.

One group to consider for inclusion in change projects are your millennials on staff, those who were born after 1980. That’s because millennials grew up with technology – so much, in fact, they don’t want jobs requiring manual processing; they want to add value to their departments in more meaningful ways.

Regardless of where your journey begins with AP automation, it starts with you. Buying technology isn’t going to give you the change you need. It’s about changing mindsets and making an actionable plan that will guide you toward transformation.

That’s how you start a revolution.

Katie Alberti

Katie Alberti is the product marketing specialist for integrations at Hyland, Creator of OnBase. She joined the company in 2012 as a content strategist and spent the last few years focusing on marketing OnBase for back office departments. Prior to joining Hyland, Katie was a writer and reporter for nearly 10 years, covering state and local news. She received her bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from Kent State University as well as her master of arts in teaching, integrated language arts curriculum and instruction.

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