Here’s a simple question: Would you rather continue to manage accounts payable manually or put the whole process into an automated workflow? Considering the amount of time that’s consumed by staff and other resources in the AP process, most companies should jump at the opportunity to automate. Fortunately, that’s never been more possible than now.

Accounts payable automation is affordable, accessible, and impressively effective, leading almost half the businesses surveyed to report they’re investigating its potential. Most see automation as a viable way to increase efficiency and reduce fraud within AP – a process that has proved historically hard to perfect. The added benefit is that it can help to reduce the overall cost of processing payments as well.  

If you’ve already decided to automate AP, you’re taking a step in the right direction. However, you will need to follow industry best practices in order to reap the benefits and ROI that you expect from this upgrade:

  • Pick the Right Product – With so many kinds of AP automation tools on the market, it’s important to choose a tool that fits both the budget and the business needs. Some options are far better than others. 
  • Invest in the Implementation – Properly implementing an automation tool can take a few months to fully implement, but it’s time well spent to ensure that you’re maximizing the effectiveness of the tool. A lot of this is dependent upon how organized you are today. AP Automation is highly reliable as long as it’s set up correctly.   
  • Challenge Internal Workflows – AP Automation tools can handle the vast majority of AP workflows, but they have to be customized to reap the most benefits. Investing time upfront to challenge your AP process flow will pay off when you implement your AP automation tool. Eliminate unnecessary steps and embrace the capabilities of the tool. This will allow you to reap the most benefit from it. 
  • Be Cautious with Approval Levels – Just because you want to automate AP doesn’t mean you want everything paid automatically, without proper review. Establish approval levels that make sense for your business so that larger purchases (like new equipment) get reviewed by actual accountants. With an automated tool, you can set approval levels to maintain effective internal controls. 

The BEST Practice for Accounts Payable Automation

Exciting as the potential of AP automation may be, it can be daunting as well. Even when you know what best practices to follow, companies struggle to successfully optimize AP automation tools because they lack the experience, expertise, or expendable resources to challenge current processes and project manage a successful implementation.

The good news is that companies don’t need world-class tech teams to utilize world-class automation tools. Outsourcing partners can help with things like product selection, implementation, and ongoing support. That way, companies don’t have to recruit their own expensive tech talent or wade through the complexities of implementing automation tools.

Ultimately, outsourcing the implementation of an AP Automation tool is a BEST practice because it makes AP automation more accessible and more affordable, while ensuring the technology is expertly implemented to deliver its full value. It’s the best of all outcomes, especially when compared to tackling automation on your own. When you’re ready to get serious about perfecting accountants payable, SSF has all the help you need. Contact us at your convenience.