Even if you understand the foundational benefits AP automation can offer your accounting workflow—saving time, saving money, and improving visibility—you may not know what differentiates one solution from another. To find the right solution you’ll want to prioritize what’s most important to your organization: time, money, accuracy, security, cloud-based integration, data transparency, customization, mass payment distributions, ERP integration, or other needs.
To help clarify your goals and to make your search simpler, here are the key questions every organization should consider when choosing an automation solution.
How Do We Choose AP Solution That Will Sync With Our Workflow?
Choosing just any AP solution may not improve your workflow, so it’s important to choose one that will work with your existing accounts payable process. Start by looking through your current process and writing down the pain points you need an AP solution to address. Then write down the steps that are most important to your current process that you would like to see sustained—your visibility into invoice data, for example.
Carefully consider all the steps in your workflow—you may want invoices that exceed a certain amount to be automatically forwarded to a special approval route. Finally, make sure you’re documenting any special controls you have built into your existing AP workflow.
A potential solution should check off all of the must-haves from your current process. Despite the number of ready-to-use options on the market, you may find your organization requires a custom solution. Click here to talk to a Paypool team member about specialized payment solutions.
Should I Choose an End-to-End or Point-to-Point Solution?
Your AP process encompasses many steps including invoice capture, approvals, and payments. Part of your goal is to automate as many of these steps as possible to improve the accuracy, speed, and security of your workflow. But not all solutions are created equal.
A point-to-point solution is inherently limited and designed only to automate one or two of the many AP steps. In comparison, an end-to-end solution tackles all aspects of your AP process. You will need to choose whether to automate the entire process or only certain aspects. You might consider a point-to-point solution if you have already automated certain steps in your workflow; for example, if your payments are routed through your accounting system you may seek a solution that automates the invoice processing, approvals/coding, and data routing.
However, point-to-point solutions rely on multiple systems working together, in essence, there is more that could go wrong. With an end-to-end solution you have the stability of a centralized workflow.
Can This Solution Handle Our Invoice Volume?
If you have hundreds of monthly invoices, it’s safe to say an AP solution would be a step up from a manual routine. AP automation can save on processing costs, minimize data entry errors, mitigate security risks, and improve timeline outcomes that plague traditional systems. If your organization is smaller or processes fewer invoices, an AP solution will still benefit you, but it is much more important to consider the price per invoice to make sure you’re getting a solution that fits your business model and can grow with you.
Will AP Automation Sync With My Existing Accounting System?
Before you get too deep into the process with an AP solution you should verify that it is compatible with your existing accounting system or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Not all solutions work with all systems, so this should be one of the first questions you ask. Additionally, automation centralizes your systems so all data is shared across the ERP and AP solution. Automation makes your ERP or accounting system more efficient as processes are streamlined and data is immediately shared across platforms.
What Happens During the AP Automation Implementation Process?
Implementation differs based on the solution, but there are a few things you can expect when transitioning to automation. When choosing a solution, verify how long the implementation process will take, and plan accordingly. There will be requirements from the client including providing a chart of accounts and your preferred approval workflows, so be prepared to share this information with your AP vendor.
Cloud-based solutions like Paypool make it simple to implement across your organization and sync with your ERP so you’re up and running quickly. Furthermore, our user experience is clear and simple, so training does not overwhelm your staff or their workflow. In case of any issues, be sure to choose a solution with an expert support team.
Request a Demo
Try before you buy. This advice has become well worn because it is true. To fully make a decision that will evolve your organization’s accounting strategy, you must experience the solution for yourself. Start today—request a demo of Paypool’s end-to-end accounts payable automation solution.