Few accounts payable (AP) leaders need to be convinced about the benefits of automation.
Despite these compelling benefits, many proposals to deploy an automated invoice processing solution, or to refresh existing AP technology, never win the approval of senior management.
Few AP automation projects will ever reach the starting point without senior management approval.
Senior managers cite lots of reasons for being skeptical of AP automation proposals:
But the top reason that many senior managers haven’t bought into the idea of deploying invoice processing software, is that the case for AP automation was presented in terms that matter to them.
Show senior management how AP automation will address their top priorities and concerns and your plan to deploy an invoice processing solution is more likely to win their strong approval.
Benefits of AP automation to management
So, how can AP automation help with what’s keeping senior management up at night?
Cashflow. Cashflow means more in turbulent times like these. AP automation helps businesses of all sizes optimize their working capital. Digital workflows accelerate invoice approvals, helping businesses avoid late payment penalties and capture more early payment discounts. Seamless integration with ERP and accounting systems gets invoice data downstream faster. Real-time reporting enables decision-makers to instantly see where accruals stand and drill down into data to uncover cash flow trends and potential issues. And paying suppliers with virtual cards enables a buyer to potentially extend its Day’s Payable Outstanding (DPO) by weeks, without changing existing payment terms.
Spending. Businesses cannot afford disruptions to their global supply chain. AP automation solutions make it easy to manage spending. Automated general ledger coding ensures that purchases are allocated correctly. Instant access to invoice data provides decision-makers with visibility into metrics such as spending by the supplier, category, and business unit – and they can see how that compares to historical data. The seamless upload of invoice data downstream helps line of business managers track performance against budgets. And payments to suppliers made electronically can be reconciled in an ERP in real-time.
Operational performance. Every business wants to do more with less. AP automation eliminates the manual, repetitive tasks that bog staff down. Invoices are automatically gathered from email boxes, supplier portals, FTP upload landing sites and other channels. Invoice header and line-item data such as the invoice number, supplier name, and product description are extracted with a high degree of accuracy and matched against purchase order and proof-of-delivery information residing in an accounting system or ERP. Unmatched invoices or invoices requiring approval (such as high-dollar invoices or invoices from strategic suppliers) are digitally routed based on pre-configured business rules. And approved invoices are posted directly to an ERP or accounting system without the need for double-keying. Eliminating manual tasks reduces invoice processing costs, increases staff productivity, and frees staff to focus more time on higher-value activities that drive growth.
Including these benefits in your AP automation proposal is sure to win the approval of management.