The Critical Importance of Automating the Accounts Payable Function

For business to thrive and grow, or even to remain solvent, the process and procedures that have traditionally been accepted in the Finance department needs to change fast.

The future of business is paperless, and it is coming faster than anyone imagined, with the rate of automation having increased fivefold during the pandemic lockdowns. Old fashioned Accounts Payable (A/P) models of pieces of paper flowing through businesses seeking approvals, coding or additional information have rapidly become impossible to operate with the large scale Work from Home movement.

Accounts Payable automation will only continue to gather momentum as more businesses recognise the inevitable. Tremendous improvements in software that deliver both increased reliability and security are making the decision to transition to an automated solution easier than ever.

Businesses understand that they must have leaner A/P staffing to reduce overheads, and the productivity gains and enhancement from mobile, cloud-based A/P automation tools is now impossible to ignore. The repetitive nature of A/P processing and the inherent time-consuming drudgery involved can be eliminated, releasing the employee to move to more value adding tasks, improving both employee morale and productivity in a single stroke.

Employees of today and into the future will both expect and demand that businesses utilise the most modern technology available to empower them to do the role to their upmost ability. Only by doing so will businesses be able to attract and retain the best talent.

What are the key factors in successful Accounts Payable automation software?

Mobility – As the need for people to conduct businesses wherever they are (office/home/café/interstate) only increases, so does the importance of mobile capabilities in systems increases. Such mobility enables managers to approve invoices wherever they are, vastly speeding up the process which improves organisational efficiency. The mobility factor gives decision makers within the organisation real time visibility into exactly what is happening which enables better decision making. Both cash flow and P&L forecasting are vastly improved.

AI driven automation – Another important productivity enhancement tool is to utilise increasingly sophisticated machine learning in the pursuit of improved productivity and accuracy within the finance department. From extracting and populating key data, suggesting account coding or even working out complicated departmental splits the utilisation of A-I to facilitate the speed of transactions is a key part of the automation productivity story.

Supplier portals – Another key enhancement which adds value both internally and externally is the ability to give key suppliers visibility and insight into payment information, saving time for an organisation’s staff in answering queries and improving and deepening the relationship between businesses.

ERP integration – A necessary and standard feature required to ensure productivity gains are achieved is a seamless integration into the ERP system. This ensures accuracy of data and allows the real time visibility provided by A/P automation to flow through the entire organisation.

Further benefits accrue to businesses in regards increased transparency of data, ease of data storage and retrieval, minimising time and cost of audit, enhanced accuracy and importantly, reduced risk of fraud.

The future of successful business lies in automation of key manual process to provide efficiency. To scale and grow profitably manual paper-based processing must end. Cloud-based software offers the means to achieve this digital transformation now. The pandemic has only accelerated the process.

Access to all the experience and expertise SAP Concur has gained in assisting thousands of businesses to go paperless and move business processes to the Cloud is only a click away, as you can sign up for a free trial. Act now and a digital A/P process and an improved business is as little as 6 weeks away.