Pirating from the Pros: Three Benefits of Networking with Your Peers in AP
Nobody wants to reinvent the wheel.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this phrase used to describe problem-solving. However, if you’re anything like me, you’ve often found yourself in meetings where you’re starting from scratch, trying to identify effective ways to execute business objectives.
But, have you ever considered reaching out to your peers? Sure, you may have co-workers in various departments to collaborate with, but what about outside your organization – from professional networking sites and conferences? Often, the insight you need to make smart decisions is only a few emails or phone calls away.
During a webinar I attended last week, Pirating Ideas from the Pros for Your AP Department, Sandy L’Herault, director of purchasing and accounts payable for Fairview Health Services in Minneapolis, explained how she’s leveraged networking to solve business problems.
Her reasoning was simple: Why work in isolation? You repeat the mistakes that others have made. Why not fast-track a solution?
In areas like accounts payable (AP) – where discussions about audits and evolving technology are commonplace – L’Herault provided three key reasons AP professionals should network with peers:
- You’ll develop fresh ideas: “Sometimes, we sit in our silos. We need to keep things fresh and keep things moving to be more efficient,” she said. By building your network of peers, you build a strong foundation for ideas and support when you need it.
- You’ll have a benchmark to compare with your processes: Have you ever wondered how your AP department stacks up against others? One of the benefits of networking is you can validate current processes against others and discover areas in need of improvement.
- You’ll learn more about vendors when making purchasing decisions: One of the best ways to learn about a vendor is by networking with peers who work with that vendor or know an organization that does. These unofficial vendor references can be eye-opening and may play a role in your purchasing decision.
No matter your business objectives, L’Herault emphasized the value of listening and learning from others.
“Pirate from your peers,” she said. “When you hear about the great things people do, take them and bring them back to your organization. … Don’t be afraid to ask, share, brag and offer help.”
Has your company ever asked you to reinvent the wheel, but you reached out to peers and found an easier way? I’d love to hear about it.