As we approach summer, many of us have the beach in mind, whether we’re lucky enough to live near one, or vacation at one. And with the beach and the ocean come surfers with their surfboards. There are as many different types of surfboards as there are people who use them, but for purposes of this blog we’ll focus on two particular styles: the longboard and the shortboard. And we’ll use the analogy to depict companies needs and how Accounts Payable automation is the “longboard” that will help them conquer the wave of pain points that weaken their ability to achieve low invoice processing costs, mitigate payment risk, and improve supplier relationships.
Therefore, we'll be comparing AP automation benefits to a "shortboard" because they increase the surfer's speed and easier to maneuver, this is exactly how it is after you implement accounts payable automation and have used it for a period of time. However, every good surfer knows that getting the most out of your shortboard experience requires learning the fundamentals and mastering the skills you'll need on a longboard. This is the same idea finance leaders and their AP team should keep in mind when implementing AP automation to address their pain points and streamline the accounts payable process for their business.
Discover AP Automation Benefits by Understanding the Digital Ecosystem
Before you commit to using any random AP automation solution to process an invoice or document, you need to understand your business' digital ecosystem and how that AP automation solution fits within the system and your staff's needs. This is like learning the fundamentals of surfing, whether it’s what you should wear to proper techniques and the reasons these tools help you succeed when you surf.
We’ll start with why you need to map out your digital ecosystem to lead you in the right direction for taking the control away from your company's current, inefficient process with this new information. McKinsey & Company’s research reveals excellent insights you can learn from to help you and other finance leaders at your company understand why investing and evaluating your digital ecosystem within your organization matters:
“Digital ecosystems today power 7 of the world’s 12 largest companies by market capitalization… Our research shows that an emerging set of digital ecosystems could account for more than $60 trillion in revenue by 2025 or more than 30% of global corporate revenue.”
In other words, not putting effort into your digital ecosystem will cause your business to fall behind competitors and decrease your company’s profitability. This is partly caused by using an outdated or manual system to process a single invoice or document in your AP department. But that’s not all the digital ecosystem does to give businesses a competitive edge. It also encourages more collaboration in your company to reveal innovative ideas from staff that you may have never thought of on your own, better relationships with internal and external stakeholders because they can trust your new error-free process while increasing the overall company's reliability because it increases the likelihood of paying on time, and gives you insight on which advanced technologies to leverage that will successfully address the inefficiencies in your AP process, like switching to the best cloud-based AP automation software powered by Yooz to streamline your AP workflow while using our customizable platform to fit your needs.
Now it’s time to grab your surfboard and head to the ocean to ride the waves like a pro!
Identifying the Waves to Solve Company Pain Points
Being the surfer isn’t all about knowing the proper positions you should be in and techniques to take on the waves. It also takes a good amount of observation even when you’re in the ocean. Experienced surfers always study the ocean while on their surfboard to better predict the type of wave, the potential difficulty, and how the wind could impact the wave’s development.
This means as a finance leader, you need to evaluate the company's weaknesses within your AP team's current process by acknowledging there are problems in the AP department's system, recognizing what kind of problems they are, understand how it’s currently affecting the accounts payable process, and where it's originating from. For example, if you're using a manual accounts payable process, that would be the source of the issues you're having from using paper invoices and documents that get lost and are full of errors. In return, the affect would be a decrease in revenue, missing out on early-payment discounts from your vendor and creating an additional task for your staff to correct the mistakes. After thinking through these steps, you’ll know if you have or need to change your AP system to help you successfully navigate through the weaknesses without being wiped-out because of inefficiencies in the AP department's process. Some of the pain points that you need to determine whether they're impacting your process and should be solved by using AP automation are:
- Discounts Lost - It is very expensive not to take discounts that your vendor may offer.
- Costly Payment Methods - Many companies still use checks which are the least cost-effective payment method when compared to ACH payments by a long shot.
- Cumbersome Controls - Manual controls over multiple systems create bottleneck in the accounts payable workflow that cost more time and money.
- Ineffective Working Capital Management - Poor accounts payable visibility creates poor cash forecasting which impacts the bottom line.
- Poor Accounts Payable Visibility - Hides opportunities to negotiate discounts with a supplier or vendor.
- Poor Supplier Relationships - Poor accounts payable visibility creates tension in supplier relationships and leads to hour and hours of time wasted on tasks to resolve an accounts payable processing issue.
Once you can recognize the waves and choose the right longboard, you’ll be able to enjoy AP Automation benefits to lower costs, improve relationships and improve productivity within and beyond the walls of accounting and finance for your organization.
Don’t Leave Your Surfboard (AP Automation) on Shore
One of the most compelling opening remarks in this year’s Levvel Research 2019 Payable Insight Report lies in the report’s executive summary, which sets the stage for how a smart Accounts Payable automation solution will benefit companies in the long run because they leveraged its advanced technologies to replace their previous manual Accounts Payable process:
“One of the most effective ways to improve an organization’s bottom line is to decrease the cost of operations that do not directly contribute to profit, redirecting the freed resources towards strategic, profit-generating initiatives. Automating the invoice processing and payment workflow is a perfect example of this opportunity, as it not only reduces the footprint of a high-cost administrative department, but it also creates an opportunity to generate revenue through increased efficiency.”
Levvel Research's insights reminds us of a surfer using a longboard made from modern materials. The premium materials further his ability to gracefully navigate smaller waves for a longer period. That's how companies should think when they're leveraging a cloud-based Accounts Payable automation technology to finally streamline their AP process and receive Accounts Payable automation benefits from the solution. The Accounts Payable department may experience these effects of leveraging the Accounts Payable automation system almost immediately whether it solves the company's issues directly or indirectly. That’s why finance leaders who have automated their finance workflows are able to more nimbly and strategically navigate important workplace initiatives such as management of working capital, mitigating potential risk, and making more strategic decisions for the organization.
Plus, according to the Payables report, smart Accounts Payable automation solutions “are the most versatile and scalable options available today for organizations across revenue segments, business types, and industries because they are increasingly flexible, dynamic, and affordable”.
Yooz takes these AP automation benefits ten steps forward with our state-of-the-art cloud-based Accounts Payable automation software. Our cutting-edge accounts payable automation technology integrates with more than 250 financial systems and increases, nearly, every day. Not only do we have a zero-risk policy, we developed our software with the smartest technologies that will reduce costs by 80 percent in our all-in-one Accounts Payable system. But, before you take our longboard into the ocean, you can make it one of a kind to your company with our highly customizable, reliable AP automation platform. We’re confident that leveraging Yooz’s top-of-the-line accounts payable automation software will give you additional game-changing Accounts Payable automation benefits to solve your pain points and give you an unforgettable purchase-to-pay (P2P) experience over and over.
Long-Term AP Automation Benefits from Yoozing Accounts Payable Automation
Eventually, what the surfer learned as a beginner becomes second nature and soon, he’ll be able to replace his run down, beginner longboard and invest in a modern, high-quality one that will last for years. The same goes for finance leaders that leverage Yooz to streamline their invoice processing and payment workflows so they can finally stop wondering, “How do we manage this ever-growing pile of invoices?” and start asking, “Where do we stand with working capital so we can more accurately forecast cash and manage budgets?” From there, they need to dive deeper into strategic game plans for better managing supply chains and finding innovative ways to allocate the cash that has been freed up, such as investing in R&D and new product development. In addition to being able to put their strategic game plans into action, Yoozing provides a plethora of long-term benefits such as:
- Eliminates Payment of Duplicate Invoices
- Eliminates Sub-optimal Payment Methods
- Improves Supplier Relationships
- Allows for Discounts to be Captured
- Removes Errors Caused by Manual Input
- Mitigates Payments Fraud Risk Exposures
- Improves Internal Controls and Creates Clear and Detailed Audit Trails
- Transparency & Visibility Create a Culture of Continuous Improvement
- Allows more employee focus on strategic activities
Like the skilled surfer, it’s a beautiful thing to watch.
Short-Term AP Automation Benefits of Yoozing Accounts Payable Automation
As we discussed earlier, the shortboard contributes to speed and easy to use, likewise there are a variety of Accounts Payable automation benefits you can gain almost instantly after transitioning from your manual process such as:
Data Entry: A key feature of OCR (optical character recognition) that contributes to the ease-of-use of advanced data entry technology. Combined with machine learning capabilities powered by AI technologies, the system intelligently fills in, for example, recurring fields from similar vendors or invoice information such as date or payment type. Machine learning capabilities improve over time as an algorithm learns the invoicing patterns of an organization. In other words, the system gets smarter the more you use it! And the Yooz platform’s smart technology is even more advanced, offering the next layer, smart data extraction, which understands and processes the text from the OCR to transform it into relevant data.
Routing Documents for Approval: As stated in the Payables report, the value of cloud-based Accounts Payable automation tools is growing, as is demand. “They are the most versatile and scalable options available today for organizations across revenue segments, business types, and industries because they are increasingly flexible, dynamic, and affordable”.2 For example, Yooz's cloud-based smart technology allows approving managers to securely access documents or an invoice ready for approval from any device at any time. Our Accounts Payable automation software gives you a completely different experience than continuing to use a manual process to manage invoices and your Accounts Payable tasks. Yoozing Accounts Payable automation means: No more lost invoices. No more tracking down managers for approvals. And as an added benefit, organizations that are decentralized will immediately save money from no longer transporting documents via courier or overnight delivery services that are contributing to unnecessary material expenses like postage stamps and envelops.
Visibility into Liabilities: Finance leaders can see not only where an invoice is in the approval process, but also see a history of who has accessed the document and what was done with it when leveraging our Accounts Payable automation software. This not only keeps the workflow moving, but also gives the greatest opportunity to capture early-payment discounts when offered by a vendor, and certainly avoid late payment penalties that, over time, will significantly increase costs.
Whenever you’re ready to unlock the strategic value of accounts payable, Yooz will teach your team how to leverage the longboard fundamentals of Accounts Payable automation to reap the short and long-term Accounts Payable automation benefits with Yooz’s state-of-the-art cloud-base Accounts Payable automation solution. Invoice processing will be much simpler and error-free while allowing your staff to contribute more value-added tasks and share their innovative ideas. And as our surfer friends say, “It will be epic, dude!”.