Evaluate Your AP Operation with the Accounts Payable Health Check
June 29, 2021
By now, everyone is familiar with the technology adoption curve. Innovators are the first to jump on the bandwagon for the latest tech or novelties. They’re followed closely by early adopters. Those in the middle make up the early and late majority. And lastly, those that fall behind everyone else on technology adoption are the digital laggards (a term that certainly feels heavy and disparaging).
The curve doesn’t simply apply to consumers, though. We can also apply it to industries and even functions.
We’ve seen colleagues in functions like sales and marketing take up new technology in what seems like the blink of an eye. Yet, until now, the AP function has been slow to adopt new technologies (aka, the digital laggards). But the culmination of market trends makes it impossible to remain behind.
Here we’ll look at why 2021 is the year of digitization for accounts payable and how to evaluate your next steps.
Business owners and AP leaders have an opportunity to turn accounts payable into a strategic and scalable resource.
Accounts Payable: The Overall Market Trend & Reaction
So, what happened to get us to this point?
The most recent and pressing issue was the pandemic-related move to remote work. The abrupt work-from-home mandates left offices as mini time capsules and businesses scrambling to adjust.
Accounts payable was particularly hit hard. Manual processes are time-consuming and error-prone even when operating in the confines of an office. When those processes are taken remote with the added layer of quarantine, it becomes unsustainable.
Last year may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, but there were other trends culminating the need for AP digitization.
For one, AP processes have continually grown more complex. How invoices are received and in what format is just one level of added complexity. At the same time, many businesses are experiencing higher volumes of invoices, whether that’s due to scaling the businesses, growth in the number of contractors, or other factors.
And while there’s complexity and challenges, there’s also opportunity that’s driving the move. Businesses know they have the opportunity to cut costs, decrease fraud, and take advantage of things like early payment discounts. Though to do that, they need visibility and control over finances.
The result is that businesses recognize they can no longer run a manual AP process. They must make an investment in automation and efficiency with technology so that they can:
- Go Paperless. This is a no brainer in terms of cost and efficiency. By removing all that paper, you can save on hard costs like storage, check stock, envelopes, and stamps. I’d argue the soft costs are even greater. With automation, businesses can avoid duplicate payments and take advantage of early payment discounts.
- Gain Control & Visibility. These two areas touch so many facets of the business from cash flow and management to detecting fraud, having a pulse down to invoice-detail level, and vendor spend and activity, to name a few.
- Scale. Automation makes it easier to process a greater number of invoices at less cost with the bonus of being able to do it anytime and anywhere. Beyond scaling your efforts, you can also scale your team, whether that means redirecting focus to more strategic initiatives or finding the best talent regardless of location.
Business leaders now understand that a flexible, tech-supported AP operation will provide the best opportunity to adapt with changing market conditions and ultimately strengthen the business.
Introducing the Accounts Payable Health Check.
We created this tool to help you evaluate your opportunity for improvement and get more out of this core business function.
The Accounts Payable Health Check
Why We Wanted to Get It in Your Hands, Now
As we’ve seen these market trends unfold, we knew there was a great opportunity to provide business and functional leaders an easy way to ensure their business is taking advantage of this shift and not getting left behind.
Plus, a modern approach to AP doesn’t happen by chance – it’s the result of deliberate planning around the workflows and tools needed to scale.
To get to this point, you must understand the health of your current approach, how well you are being served by the tools at hand, and how to take advantage of the opportunity for growth.
Introducing the Accounts Payable Health Check…
We created this tool to help you evaluate your opportunity for improvement so that you can get the most out of this core business function.
With this 20- question evaluation guide, you’ll be able to identify the next steps in your AP digitization journey quickly and easily.
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