After a tumultuous year that saw traditional ways of working upended, financial departments are getting comfortable with digital transformation and its relationship with remote working and the ‘new normal’.
That said, our industry cannot afford to get complacent. Things are changing at a rapid pace, and if your department is to lead from the front, it needs to integrate digital tools to stay ahead of competitors.
Here’s how Accounts Payable Automation will benefit finance departments in 2021. Besides reducing the cost of processing an invoice, there are other crucial differences between manual Accounts Payable and Accounts Payable automation.
According to a survey by Financial Director, the majority of finance leaders think their department’s digital transformation projects are lagging behind their competition.
The survey found that 54 percent of respondents were either behind or not up to date in their digital transformation projects. Furthermore, 18 percent didn’t know how they compared to the competition, and only 7 percent thought they were completely up to date.
Nick Ludlow, regional vice president at Chrome River, believes that “there is a correlation between the number of finance leaders who have only just started their digitisation projects, and those who feel that they are behind the curve compared to their peers. Likewise, the number of companies who have almost completed their digital transformation is similar to those that think they are ahead of the competition”.
Whether the adoption of new technology is related to accessibility or is simply a matter of being cautious, there can be no doubt that automation is now a business necessity. Going forward, it will be a driving factor behind business ROI and competitiveness.
The persuasive benefits of AP Automation
For cost-efficient, streamlined accounts payable operations, many businesses are choosing to adopt intelligent technology, and more specifically, AP automation platforms. This is because AP automation is accessible to organisations of all sizes and can deliver fast, demonstrated ROI.
Automation in Accounts Payable alleviates unnecessary administration, streamlines the approval workflow process and eliminates human error caused by manual data entry.
1. Saves time and money with streamlined processes
AP automation removes manual processes from the equation, drives more than £10.47 savings per invoice and reduces invoice processing and approval workflow time by 50 percent.
2. AP automation benefits and incentivises employees
Manual data capture, invoice categorisation and routing can lead to errors and mismanagement, while the cost of processing an invoice can lead to high overheads. AP automation, however, removes redundant, time-consuming administrative tasks from daily duties and gives staff more time to focus on value-adding activities
What’s more, digitalising client and supplier documents is 50to75%cost-efficient than paper processing than paper processing (it also reduces processing time by approximately 30%).
3. Improves security and supplier relationships
AP automation’s end-to-end traceability and transparency make for a reliable, secure accounting process. It also allows financial departments to put authentication mechanisms in place, as well as secure classification (which is a record of historical classification decisions that can function as a source document) and electronic archiving for all operations.
Top AP automation suppliers will provide always-on customer service. High-quality support and assistance — such as a 24/7 hotline and webchat for ongoing training or quick troubleshooting — could be the difference between clients choosing you or a competitor.
4. Share insights and alignment with stakeholders
Before integrating an AP automation solution, it’s best practice to get buy-in from leaders in your accounting and finance departments, as well as purchasers, suppliers, approvers and senior management. This consultation process provides a shared understanding of the day-to-day challenges each stakeholder faces, helping to streamline and optimise working relationships and processes.
Additionally, as documentation and invoices are stored in one place, stakeholders get full visibility of the Accounts Payable process and its benefits. You can also analyse the data available to uncover trends and insights to support cashflow management and financial reporting.
5. No more late payments
Traditional AP invoice processing is error-prone and time-consuming. Until recently, accountants have had to push through invoices as quickly and accurately as possible to honour payments and satisfy vendors. This mounting pressure can lead to mistakes, delays, and late, inaccurate invoices.
AP automation uses intelligent technology to optimise the invoice process so that prompt service delivery is all but guaranteed. It also boosts efficiency and reactivity and ensures that there is less time spent handling and searching for paper documents.
6. Promotes continuity of services
Digital transformation has fundamentally changed the way we work. In the past, senior management would have been hesitant to let employees work remotely for fear of a dip in quality or productivity.
Now, we have the technology in place to ensure teams are connected and accountants can do their jobs from anywhere. Because AP automation is cloud-based, verified employees with login details can access a secure web portal from the comfort of home (or wherever they choose to work from).
Discover now, in one hour, how to achieve the easiest and fastest invoice processing and easily and reduce your costs by 80%.