AP Automation: 3 Common Misconceptions
When deciding whether to automate your accounts payable department, it’s important to have an idea of what that automation will look like for your department. Unfortunately, there are often misconceptions about what “fully automating” an AP department actually means. Many fear loss of jobs, a continued reliance on paper despite automating, and a lengthy difficult implementation process that brings business to a halt. Luckily, these fears can all be laid to rest by taking a closer look at how enterprise-level AP automation works.
Misconception #1: Accounts Payable Automation Will Replace All Human Employees
Often an AP department’s biggest fear when they hear “full automation” is that technology is going to overtake everything, including their jobs. This, however, is far from the truth. A fully automated accounts payable department actually means that AP employees will get to focus on more meaningful work on a regular basis. With the automation solution handling the grueling monotonous work—like managing exceptions and automatically routing approvals—accounts payable employees will have the opportunity to put their time towards more important tasks, such as:
- Fraud prevention
- Taking advantage of early-pay discounts
- Analyzing spend data
- Healthy supplier relationships
- And more!
AP automation does not mean that the AP staff will be dissolved—rather, AP automation means that the department will run more smoothly, with less stressed employees that can better enjoy their day-to-day responsibilities.
Misconception #2: 100% Paperless Just Isn’t Possible
A huge doubt that many have is the legitimacy of the claim that AP automation can completely eliminate paper in their department. When it comes to lower-level solutions, this doubt is often valid. However, when it comes to enterprise-level solutions, a 100% paperless department should be standard. In fact, an enterprise-level AP automation solution can and should have your department paperless on day one. Automation solutions are able to accomplish this through:
- A web-based supplier portal
- Automatically directing paper invoices to solution provider
- Superior archiving abilities
- Supplier communications directly on the invoice
- Online payments
Misconception #3: Accounts Payable Automation is Hard to Implement
When picturing the steps involved with automating an accounts payable department, the idea of implementation can be intimidating. Due to the configurability of high-level automation solutions, and the integration done with your current systems, it’s true that implementation does take time. However, high-level automation solutions will utilize methods that keep your department functioning during the entire process. This includes the use of a vendor adoption team that immediately onboards suppliers—meaning no disruption of business while the department becomes automated. Additionally, many solutions are entirely web-based, meaning no software needs to be installed in the department.
Seeing the Real Value of Accounts Payable Automation
It is easy to understand the common fears about accounts payable automation. However, by utilizing enterprise-level automation solutions, those fears are easily dispelled. Understanding exactly what AP automation does and how it does it helps to see just how useful of a tool automation can be. In a fully automated department, there is no paper, no business disruption, and automation and employees work in tandem.