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2 mins read

Accounting

How AP Departments of the Future Will Make a Strategic Difference

by Mark Brousseau, IOFM on 04.4.2019

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Based on the podcast produced by The Knowledge Group and featuring Mark Brousseau, consultant, IOFM spokesperson, speaker

 

Accounts Payable is at an inflection point. That’s how Mark Brousseau begins his interview when asked by The Knowledge Group’s Andrew Macleod about the biggest challenges that AP departments face.

 

It’s true. Historically, AP departments have been the quintessential back office function. But businesses today are expecting more from their AP function. They realize that if they can get at the information and data housed in their AP department, they can use it to support better management of their working capital, mitigate potential risk, and make more strategic decisions. But when the staff is bogged down with manual repetitive processes, everything takes too long, costs too much, and frustrates internal leadership and valued suppliers.

 

In this interview, conducted by Andrew MacLeod of The Knowledge Group, Mark Brousseau speaks about the future of AP departments.

 

Q: What are accounts payable departments doing to address these challenges?

A:  For the past many years, companies have thought they could throw more people at the problems associated with manual AP processes; and there has been absolutely no benefit to that. Now, they are getting serious about automation and leveraging the wide range of technologies now available to choose from. They are embracing solutions like Yooz to handle their business’s diverse needs: Data capture powered by OCR (optical character recognition), features for fast approval and exception handling, and seamless integration with legacy finance systems.

 

Q: How do you believe the accounts payable function will change in the future?

A:  It will be unrecognizable! Digital, data driven, and strategic. Stakeholders will unlock the value of AP automation and leverage it in more ways than ever. CFOs will believe that if they optimize the AP processes they can better manage cash, control spend, and mitigate risk. All helping drive larger corporate objectives.

 

Q: How will the strategic standing of accounts payable within the business change?

A:  Instead of continuing to ask, “How do we manage this ever-growing pile of invoices?” finance leaders will ask, “Where do we stand with working capital so we can more accurately forecast cash and manage budgets?” Further, “How do we better manage our supply chain? And, best of all, “What do we do with the cash that has been freed up? Develop new products and invest in R&D!”

 

Q: What advice do you have for accounts payable professionals?

A: Not all AP solutions are created equal. Use these three things to define what automation solution will best help your AP department be more efficient and strategic.

  1. Start at the backend. Make sure the solution you choose tightly integrates with your ERP/legacy systems.
  2. Don’t underestimate the importance of accuracy and efficiency of data capture. One that can handle all formats of invoices, normalize the process, extract and validate data, and send it on its way based on the business rules you have set.
  3. Make sure the provider you are considering is investing in emerging technologies that will shape the future of not only AP, but the finance department at large. Find a solution that will leverages data powered by smart technologies to help your department make faster, smarter decisions. Like Yooz!

 

Listen to the complete podcast. It will be the best 14 minutes you spend all week!