3 ways you can start an 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
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.