If you’re considering accounts payable automation for your organization, you probably are already aware of the limitations of a manual system. Paper invoices, approval and payment delays, and a lack of visibility all present challenges for modern organizations that haven’t automated their AP. To make improvements, you need a solution that will remove these challenges.
Maybe you’ve already begun to research solutions. But to effectively evaluate AP automation providers, you need to have a deep understanding of your requirements. Having the right information will help you choose the AP solution that meets your organization’s specific needs.
If this sounds like you, we’ve got a few tips on preparing to choose an AP automation solution.
- Define Your Current Process
- Assess Your Current Weaknesses
- Identify Systems to Connect With
- Get Your Staff on Board
You already have an established process for invoice intake, approval routing, and payment processing. The best automation tools will let you preserve these required workflows, taking your existing steps and recreating them in a streamlined system. At the same time, outdated or redundant steps may be improved or discarded entirely.
You should map out your entire AP workflow as it exists today. A simple AP process chart or workflow map (with all branching possibilities) will help during the evaluation process and will also help during implementation once you choose a solution.
To find solutions that are the right fit, you should also define (on average) how many invoices and payments you process in a month, the types of payments you require, and how that information is currently handled in your accounting system.
If you’re seeking out a solution, you’re likely aware there are weaknesses in your current AP process. Examine your organization’s AP from end-to-end to identify every issue – then, you’ll be able to more accurately determine if the solutions you’re evaluating can help address these issues.
An AP solution that exists in a vacuum won’t work for any organization that uses accounting software or other ERP systems. AP automation tools need to work with the other tools you have at your disposal. Most of the time, integrations are very simple, allowing for easy transfer of data to and from accounting systems – but this transfer should be very easy for the user to accomplish. If too much data manipulation or formatting is required, it starts to defeat the purpose of automation.
Your staff and your vendors will be affected by a change in AP systems. There may be some grumbling during times of change, but the aim of automation is to make things easier for everyone. Bring in key stakeholders to the AP evaluation process and get their input. By listening to their concerns or suggestions, you’re involving them in the future direction of the organization. Not all staff members will get to make a final decision, but they will be able to identify potential challenges or bring up key considerations you haven’t thought of.