Accounting Managers: Can’t Meet Month-End Deadlines? Consider Accounts Payable Automation

Only accounting and finance professionals in fast-paced environments understand the rush of trying to get everything entered for month-end closing, while maintaining near-perfect accuracy. Other departments may express frustration directed at the accounting department while everything is wrapping up for the month, because their own departments’ tasks may be delayed. In addition, upper-management may not be happy that  month-end closing is taking so long, especially since financial statements need to be prepared in time for important meetings.

Unfortunately, it is not always up to the accounting department. Accounting managers and their staff know that part of the reason for delays in month-end closing is related to external factors. Waiting to receive invoices, getting the appropriate approvals from others in the company, sending back invoices that don’t match the purchase order, and contacting the vendors to discuss discrepancies all take up valuable time. And time is something many accounting departments don’t have–especially since, according to recent studies, many accounting departments are already severely understaffed.

Today, many accounting managers are getting creative and turning to technology to solve their department’s unique problems. When it comes to delayed vendor invoices, and the myriad of related issues that go along with it, accounts payable automation is proving to be a game-changer.  Here are a few ways this technology is helping businesses save time and meet deadlines:

Cuts Down on Waiting-Time for Invoices

With AP automation, you don’t have to wait for paper invoices to be delivered in the mail and then sent to various personnel for approval before you can finally enter them into the system.  Instead, you will be able to view invoices in the system as soon as the vendor bills you. This will save you critical time during month-end when every minute counts. In addition, you can also take advantage of those discounts that many vendors offer, but that your department was never able to take advantage of due to the length of your paper AP process.

You Can Eliminate the Manual Entry of Invoices

Vendors will be able to enter all of the information you need into the system itself without your team having to manually do so again from a paper invoice.  You can even set limitations as to who can see the invoices for approvals and final postings, so it will not take away the internal controls that your company has in place.

Issues can be Handled Electronically

People that do not work in accounting are unaware of the time AP staff spends on resolving invoice discrepancies. With accounts payable automation, your team can alert the vendors of any issues in the system itself. You can drastically cut down on phone calls and e-mails to the vendor, and even more time wasted on trying to locate the invoice in question. In addition, you no longer will have to worry about missing invoices that are always found at the last minute when you are trying to close purchase orders.

Your Staff Can Focus on Other Accounting Tasks

Accounts payable is only one facet of accounting. With the implementation of accounts payable automation and the time-saving effects it has in accounting departments, businesses are finding that their staff can be used in other areas when the month-end deadline looms. You can have your team redirect their focus in areas such as accounts receivables, so that you bring money into your company more quickly. By doing so, you will also save money on any interest you would have to pay on lines-of-credit that needed to be borrowed against to pay financial obligations.

Closing Thoughts

Month-end can be frustrating and hectic in busy accounting departments. If your team is understaffed, and hiring new employees is not part of your short-term plan, accounts payable automation is a viable solution. This technology is specifically designed to alleviate some of the common problems accounts payable departments face. However, not all AP automation software is created equal. If you would like to speak to leaders in this field, feel free to contact us for your personalized consultation.