How to Automate Your Accounts Payable Processes

Almost every company with an accounts payable division has faced some challenges in streamlining the accounts payable process at some point. A few problems involve maintaining an error-free accounts payable process, increasing invoice processing speed, and maintaining continuity among team members throughout each stage.

When considering improving the accounts payable process, one of the solutions that has proven to be most effective is automation. Introducing automation into the accounts payable workflow can greatly benefit an organization. These benefits include reducing the costs of processing invoices, better visibility, increased access to reporting and analytics, and optimizing working capital.

This article will cover the following topics:

  • What is Accounts Payable Automation?
  • What does AP automation entail?
  • Is AP Automation right for my business?
  • Process weakness & selecting the right AP Solution
  • Automating Accounts Payable
  • How to automate AP with Fintech

What is accounts payable automation, and what does it entail?

The accounts payable process involves the management of debt and liabilities for the business. These include both fixed costs and variable costs that are outstanding. Every company will incur debt as a natural result of operating, and the management of this debt is central to the accounts payable process.

Accounts payable automation involves implementing effective technology that will be able to perform tedious data entry and time-consuming manual tasks. By automating the steps within the accounts payable process, companies can save time and divert energy toward more mission-critical projects.

Implementing an AP automation solution doesn’t have to be a gargantuan undertaking. However, it is necessary to take the proper steps when switching from manual to automated processes. By taking a measured and structured approach to rolling out automation, it is possible to ensure the success of the transition from manual to automated accounts payable management.

Is AP automation right for my business?

Transitioning to automation to handle accounts payable processes can be off-putting for many businesses accustomed to doing things in a traditional manner. Many questions may arise, including whether AP automation is suitable for a business, to begin with. By assessing the current practices involved in the AP process and examining the results, a company can see whether or not there is room for improvement.  

Answers to these questions can help determine the appropriateness of AP automation:

  • Does processing invoices consume a significant amount of time for my staff?
  • Would the company be more productive with less time spent on manual AP processes?
  • Would the company benefit from better data tracking, analytics, and improved transparency?
  • Is there a well-defined process for managing accounts payable tasks, or is it chaotic and unorganized?
  • Is there an adequate method of collaboration for team members who work remotely to access vital documents and data?

Examining the answers to these questions will prove helpful when it comes to choosing an AP automation solution. It is also beneficial to be aware of the primary benefits that any company can realize when considering automation for their AP processes. These benefits include:

  • Enhanced security and fraud protection
  • Increased time savings
  • Minimized errors caused by manual entry
  • Process delays elimination

Internal Arrangements - Examining Current Process Weakness

Once business leaders have determined that it is beneficial to use automation to facilitate the accounts payable process, the next step involves the development of an implementation plan. This starts with examining current weaknesses that are inherent within the existing processes. By taking stock of current operations, a business can better understand its landscape and know exactly where to make changes.

Selecting the right AP solution

Choosing the best accounts payable software to help manage every facet of the accounts payable process can have a life-changing impact on an organization. Effective software can provide a smooth workflow that frees time for much more important activities.

To determine which accounts payable software is the right one, consider these factors:

  • Accessibility: Consider how the automation software works to provide easy access to its functions.
  • Implementation: Take into account how simple or difficult it will be to implement the new software. Factors such as how many people will use it and how many features need to be set up will help when considering ease of implementation.
  • Cost: If there is a budget for new software, then it will be helpful to consider the cost of the AP software before making a decision. Some accounts payable software is available in monthly, yearly, or per-user subscription models.
  • Need: Considering the company’s primary need when it comes to accounts payable management is helpful when making a selection. For instance, if slow invoicing is a primary focal point, then finding AP software that speeds up the invoicing process will be most beneficial.

Considering these factors will prove instrumental in deciding on the best automation for the company’s AP process management needs.

Creating a plan for implementation

The right automation software can create huge benefits for an organization; however, it’s essential to be strategic about the implementation process. Transitioning from a manual to an automated system requires some forethought to ensure smooth and seamless integration of the new software. It is essential to assemble a streamlined and systematic plan to best roll out the new automated AP solution.

Depending on the software chosen, the implementation process can follow this basic plan:

  1. Planning and project scope - This initial discussion phase involves outlining the goals for the AP automation solution
  2. Integration: The automation solution is installed and integrated with existing technology where needed
  3. Configuration and set-up: The system is configured and tailored to suit the needs of the business
  4. Walk-through and quality check: Quality checks will be done, and walk-throughs completed to make sure that everything is working properly
  5. Training: The appropriate staff members will be trained on all aspects of the new AP automated solution
  6. Complete Roll-out: Everything is ready for deployment at this stage, and the automated AP solution is ready to be fully rolled out

Automating Accounts Payable

For an organization to be more productive and, ultimately, more profitable, it must create streamlined systems and processes. One of the best ways to do this is by using automated accounts payable solutions. With an automated AP solution, a business can:  

  • Create a seamless approval process: Automation ensures that the approval process goes smoothly from start to finish.
  • Eradicate manual data entry: Avoid costly and time-consuming errors by getting rid of manual data entry altogether.
  • Eliminate Complicated Coding: Automation eliminates the need for complicated GL coding typical of a manual accounts payable process.
  • Enhance Security: Automation in the accounts payable process enhances security and helps to make fraud virtually irrelevant. This goes a long way towards protecting the company’s bottom line.
  • ERP Integration: With effective ERP integration capabilities, companies can rest assured that their existing systems will work well with their new software.
  • Automatic Verification: The accounts payable team can save time on otherwise time-consuming verification tasks with an automated verification process.

Using Fintech as an effective AP solution

The right AP automation tools can revolutionize a company’s systems and provide many positive benefits for years into the future. One such solution is PayEm, a dynamic and robust platform that makes automating the accounts payable workflow a seamless process.

As a Solution, PayEm brings several functions to the AP Automation process. These include automatic verifications, streamlined customer experience flows, improved transparency that yields data & analytics, automated approvals, and multiple payment options. Contact PayEm’s experts for a commitment-free, no-cost demo of the platform.

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