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7 mins read

Improve Accounts Payable Efficiency

What Should An Accounts Payable Manager Goals And Objectives Be?

by Yooz on 08.4.2020


When you’re working to improve accounts payable efficiency, it’s worth keeping your sight on bigger goals that go beyond getting invoices into your system fast and paid on time. As we at Yooz always tell our customers and prospective customers alike, they should aim higher.   


Accounts payable is constantly evolving so it’s important to continue to adapt and think outside-of-the-box. Here are five ideas AP Leaders, like you, should implement to streamline their AP processes: 


  • Improve accounts payable efficiency by having a completely paperless workflow from procurement-to-payment (P2P)  

  • Drive supplier participation and enablement  

  • Enjoy same-day invoice approval  

  • Capture all available early payment discounts  

  • Give your entire team mobile access for invoice approval and to stay in the loop.


If you could accomplish all five things and during the process save time, save money, and dramatically increase efficiency -- why wouldn’t you? This quick goal-setting exercise goes further than the age-old debate over paper vs. electronic or manual processes vs. automation. At its core, it’s about making the AP function an essential part of digital transformation and become a strategic asset for the entire organization.   


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AP Leaders' Top Priorities For The Accounts Payable Process 


The AP team can become a hub of intelligence for other departments because it deals with and generates streams of valuable data around liabilities, B2B payment timing and the performance of your suppliers. All those data points gleaned from lowly purchase orders and invoices can be combined and analyzed to drive better cash management and superior decision-making all the way up to the C-level. 


Now comes the reality check. What goals do AP leaders actually have in a crisis-stricken year like 2020 when so many things have been upended or put on hold? Luckily, we can turn to Ardent Partners who recently released their “State of ePayables” report for which they spoke with more than 200 finance leaders. They wanted to know what goals these practitioners have set for themselves when it comes to digital transformation, collaboration and analytics.  


32% Of Finance Leaders Want To Enable More Suppliers To Submit Their Invoices Electronically 


AP Automation is great for taking over an employee's repetitive tasks to create a more efficient workflow. But that's not the only concern that automating resolves for accounting. Accounts payable automation can integrate epayments to expedite the procurement to pay process. In return, business costs are significantly reduced, management of cash distribution improves, and more opportunities to implement a well-developed supplier payment strategy. 


Using an AP solution for epayments gives your business more power over personalizing payment decisions like payment timeframes, early pay discounts, and vendor rebates. No wonder more accounts payable departments are encouraging their suppliers to convert to exclusively accept electronic payments. The 32% of finance leaders are aware that AP automation gives them visibility, efficiency, and better manage the invoicing process. But adding an epayment solution to pay suppliers will help their company achieve a complete P2P process to catapult performance and streamline the department's work. 


29% Of Finance Leaders Said They Aim To Implement AP Automation  


AP automation is becoming less of an option and more like a necessity. The increased need for full automation is a result from large numbers of employees working from home. In "The State of ePayables 2020" report, Ardent Partners states "the challenges of the work-from-home and remote work... AP and financial agility are dependent upon a technology infrastructure that enables scale and flexibility". Therefore, when implementing full accounts payable automation, your company goals should incorporate: 


  • Payment-related processes 

  • invoice approval 

  • invoice receipt 

  • invoice processing.


To make sure the most impactful areas in the AP workflow are being addressed to reduce invoice errors and boost performance in the accounting department. 


28% Of Finance Leaders Want To Eliminate Paper Check Payments  


There are many reasons why accounting and finance teams are wanting to get rid of paper checks. Deficiencies with paper checks that are solved by epayments are: 


  • faster payment times 

  • improved compliance 

  • lower costs 

  • mitigates fraud 

  • visibility into the company's cash flow.


These are just a few examples of how electronic payments add more value than sticking with manually issuing or handling paper checks. 


The Top 7 Challenges Finance Leaders Face 


The survey also gives a good picture of where finance leaders see the main challenges to reaching their overarching goal of becoming more of a strategic, data-driven asset:  


  • 60% say invoice and payment approvals take too long 

  • 48% lament the high percentage of exceptions  

  • 33% are unhappy with the lack of respect and status within their organization  

  • 31% suffer from too much paper 

  • 27% are concerned about manual B2B payments  

  • 25% complain about the lack of visibility into invoice and payment data

  • Only 23% are concerned about getting the budget to invest in automation.  


The last number is interesting and encouraging because it points to the fact that most finance leaders are not worried about securing the funds to drive innovation for the AP workflow and implement their goals. Instead, it appears they consider cloud-based technology like Yooz as an enabler to overcome nearly all the challenges mentioned.


And Ardent’s report agrees: “There is one solution that provides the strongest range of benefits and value to AP’s journey: automation”.   


Aim Higher By Yoozing AP Automation 


So don’t get distracted by the small stuff when the next payment cycle rolls around and invoices trickle in. Instead, aim higher and define your long-term goals. Start a conversation in your company. Engage with as many colleagues and partners as possible to imagine what the AP department can do to get the entire organization ready for the digital age. Leading this discussion will let Accounts Payable move from its old back-office role to the center stage of an exciting transformation. 


Yooz delivers the highest automation rates by industry standards, combined with unrivalled simplicity, to help accounting and finance leaders tackle their productivity and security challenges from purchase to payment. 


If you have your goals set or are ready to take the next big step, why not contact one of our AP Automation experts for a free demo.