The very definition of an entrepreneur implies someone who innovates. Innovation is what drives the market; without it, the spirit of competition would drown in a sea of redundancy. Although innovation is often seen as something that comes from the top levels of a business, encouraging it at every level can make a company truly competitive.

The accounts payable department is typically viewed as a department where innovation doesn’t matter. After all, how could the daily payment of invoices be seen as anything but routine?

On the contrary, not only can accounts payable benefit from a continual stream of new ideas, but encouraging them on a regular basis can be a shot in the arm to invigorate employees and spur on new business growth. The key is in seeing accounts payable not as a single function or isolated department, but as a vital part of the business as a whole.

Accounts Payable in The 21st Century

For several years, accounts payable was indeed just a department mired in mundane activities, where one day was pretty much the same as the next. The matching of invoices to purchase orders was seen as a low level clerical activity. Even a temporary employee could be hired to do it, with little training.

Because of the technological advances of accounts payable automation, all of that has changed. Routine manual functions have been replaced by automated predictions, effectively speeding up the process of invoice generation and resolution, and eliminating the need for many of the daily routine tasks formerly associated with this department.

They have been replaced by more energetic tasks that require a higher level of skill, as well as a degree of ingenuity. With AP automation, more focus can be placed upon budgeting and forecasting, with emphasis on existing working capital. Tools such as dynamic discounting can be used to proactively find ways for an organization to save money, comparing supplier discounts and methods electronically in real time. Through e-invoicing, the ordinary purchase order-to-invoice transaction becomes a way to increase revenue and strategize to fulfill corporate goals.

In short, the accounts payable department of today that is fortified with electronic invoicing is a department that is ripe for innovation. The more efficient the accounts payable department becomes, the more the company as a whole will profit as a result.

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