Extend the Value of PeopleSoft: The time is now for Accounts Payable Automation

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Time is running out for accounts payable professionals to embrace digital technologies. And you can help! Most finance leaders for global organizations say the competencies of their teams must change significantly over the next three years to meet the new digital demands of the business. That’s according to a survey of more than 5,500 finance professionals across 2,000 organizations in 150 countries conducted by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). Fifty-five percent of finance departments already have “somewhat” automated their processes, AICPA found, and 61 percent of finance leaders expect that one-in-five finance tasks will be completely automated within the next three years. IT and Finance leaders should act now to identify areas for automation and innovation which will bring the biggest ROI to the organization. But finance departments have a lot of work to do in automating their processes.  Hindsight reporting (e.g. Excel reports) still make up 65 percent of a finance team’s report outputs, ACIPA discovered. Finance leaders are eager to automate repetitive tasks such as reporting to free up staff to focus on value-added activities such as data analysis, supplier management, and vendor master cleanup. Collaboration between Finance and IT will ensure thorough due diligence and selection of solutions which will meet the goals of both departments. Accounts payable professionals will face pressure to understand and deploy technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics to facilitate this shift. The question for most accounts payable professionals is where to begin. Here are 10 steps for preparing your accounts payable department for automation:

  • Step 1: Diagnose your pain points: Work with stakeholders to analyze your operations and track key metrics to determine your top pressures and priorities for improvement.
  • Step 2: Understand your workflows: Build detailed flow charts for all invoice processes from invoice receipt to payment for PO-based invoices, non-PO-invoices, recurring invoices, and supplier credits. Identify sources of bottlenecks and how processes can be improved. Take time to meet with both IT and Finance team members who will be interacting with the new solution.
  • Step 3: Establish a project team: Enlist essential representatives from key stakeholders to help evaluate prospective technology providers, monitor the progress of the project, and make decisions regarding the process, workflow, system and architecture changes.
  • Step 4: Define objectives: Identify the scope and objectives of the project.
  • Step 5: Evaluate prospective technology solutions: Create a scoring model to evaluate potential solutions based on their ability to improve processes such as invoice receipt, data capture, approval and exceptions workflows, PO matching, inquiries, and reporting.
  • Step 6: Focus on key features: Avoid becoming distracted by ‘bells and whistles’ by focusing your evaluation on the features that best-in-class organizations use to separate themselves from their peers: standardized processes, straight-through posting, and PO matching.
  • Step 7: Look beyond vendor brochures: Evaluate prospective technology providers based on the features and functionality included in their solution (e.g. “in the box”), the services that the provider can layer on top of their technology, their ability to simplify and automate financial flows, ease-of-adoption and training, and their reputation and financial standing.
  • Step 8: Build a solid business case: Include hard and soft dollar savings and risk mitigation.
  • Step 9: Set realistic timelines for deploying the solution: Keep things on track by creating a plan that lays out project stages, deliverables, stakeholders, dependencies and deadlines.
  • Step 10: Win over front-line staff: Create a plan early-on for managing change.

Over the next several years, technologies such as RPA, AI, and analytics will radically change the way that business is conducted.  This means that accounts payable professionals must move beyond tired, manual processes and adopt digital technologies that meet the new demands of the business. This guest post is brought to you by our Partner Canon Information & Imaging Solutions. Ready to take action? Download Canon’s latest white paper “10 Proven Steps to Accounts Payable Automation Success” to arm your team with a clear path to success. Smart ERP Solutions (SmartERP), a leading provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions and services, announced today that it has become a Solutions Partner for Canon Information and Imaging Solutions, Inc. (CIIS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canon U.S.A., Inc., and is now able to provide Accounts Payable Automation Solutions from CIIS. "CIIS is pleased to collaborate with Smart ERP Solutions, and leverage the company's expertise in ERP systems such as Oracle PeopleSoft. By bringing together SmartERP's experience with Canon's imaging technologies and deep knowledge of business process automation, we can help our mutual clients drive business process transformation and achieve significant efficiency gains." said Dennis Amorosano, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Canon Information and Imaging Solutions. About Canon Information and Imaging Solutions, Inc. Canon Information and Imaging Solutions, Inc. (CIIS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon U.S.A., Inc., brings together Canon's world-class imaging technologies and information management expertise to assist organizations in achieving their digital transformation objectives.  With a focus on innovation, CIIS's software development and solutions delivery capabilities scale across several practice areas: Business Process Automation - including Procure-to-Pay & Order-to-Cash automation, Document Solutions, Information Management Services with a focus on content capture, management and collaboration, and Security and Infrastructure Management.  With expertise in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics, CIIS deploys its solutions in partnership with leading technology providers and offers comprehensive consulting and professional services that are trusted by organizations of all sizes. Additional information about the company, its programs and mission can be found at ciis.canon.com.

No items found.