As far back as 1995, there were warnings from experts about the harsh reality of what could be coming for businesses in all sectors around disruptive technology. One such publication was entitled “Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave”. Unfortunately, many AP departments have been much too complacent about these warnings and it’s been business as usual right up until the time that their leaders realized that it was time for a change.

Change and Transformation

While some Account Payable departments did institute small changes, what they really needed was a complete transformation. What exactly is the difference between change and transformation? A transformation will effectively create the future, while a change is typically focused on fixing or correcting the past. Let’s face it, even an AP department with a slightly better version of the past is, at best, just a change and not enough to fight off digital disruption. Transformation, on the other hand, utilizes technologies and programs such as AP Automation, Electronic Invoicing, and Dynamic Discounting for engineering an entirely new way of doing things.

Some AP Managers have started responding to new digital possibilities quickly without having to put their ideas in front of endless committees for approval. These innovative thinkers are using the transformations of their departments to alter the world of AP while streamlining their departments and improving the bottom line of their respective companies. These men and women understand that a truly offensive strategy must have innovation at its core for it to be qualified as transformational rather than just a change.

For a quick tip list for AP Managers looking to embrace transformation in their department, here are a few steps that you can take to achieve a true transformation.

6 Steps for Transformation of Accounts Payable

  1. Assessing your organizational structure and processes
  2. Assessing your readiness for a transformation, being honest about what your department is currently doing
  3. Filling any gaps in your transformation management capabilities
  4. Adopting the guiding principles and goals of digitally transforming your AP department
  5. Creating your digital business strategy to align with your goals
  6. Strategically innovating via tools such as Accounts Payable Automation and e-invoicing

These steps could prove to be a major challenge for the AP departments of some larger and long-established companies, however, it’s one that department heads should be confronting head-on. This should be done sooner rather than later because your company can’t afford for the transformation to take years while a loss of market share is dragging it down, leaving little hope of ever having the ability for innovating and digitizing your AP department.