AP Automation and Rapid Problem-Solving

The ability of company leaders to think on their feet when faced with difficult problems is an asset that is highly desirable. Most managers would acknowledge that solving problems quickly and efficiently can save a business considerable money.

Not everyone is born with this personality trait; in most cases, quick thinking is learned over time and continually adjusted for the introduction of new situations. Multiple business publications have been authored to help. One of these posts written by Thomas Wedell-Wedelsborg is, “Are You Solving The Right Problems?”

This article lists several approaches to problem-solving which can be helpful to the average business manager. The central idea presented in the article is that most difficult problems are multi-faceted, and can be solved creatively in several different ways. Sometimes a change of outlook is needed in order for the real problem to be perceived.

The New Responsibilities of Accounts Payable

Accounts payable automation has dramatically changed the responsibilities of the accounts payable department. Accounts payable is no longer a peripheral part of the business organization. Managers are being called upon to be involved in such important problem-solving areas as risk management and loss control, finances and accounting, and business forecasting. Decisions made by the accounts payable department can directly change the future of the organization, for good or for ill.

Accounts payable leaders are required to think on their feet as never before. Fortunately, there are already several tools built in to the process of electronic invoicing that can make these decisions much easier.

Electronic Innovations Intended to Help

Real-time analysis of financial data is one of the biggest assets of e-invoicing. A problem in accounts payable cannot be solved quickly unless it is discovered quickly. Several controls are built into the electronic administration of purchase order-to-invoice payment processes that standardize data flow. Problems are therefore usually limited to document exceptions. These are much easier to spot electronically and handle as they occur.

Risk management becomes simpler with AP automation. Archiving of information allows comparisons to be made between expectations and actual returns. Vendors can be sorted and chosen for the way they help to further stated business goals; in fact, the daily interaction with vendors can help to clarify and update what those business goals might be.

Analysis of electronic reporting can help organizations find new ways to save money that could have previously gone unnoticed. One of these methods is dynamic discounting, which allows a firm to pay invoices on a sliding scale that varies with the vendor, netting valuable discounts that add up to money saved at the end of the year. Dynamic discounting is being used by large firms worldwide to conform business budgets to daily working capital.

Business forecasting is then much easier to do. When business goals and expectations are being established and reached on a daily basis, profit is the inevitable result. Accounts payable automation offers the tools for measuring the success or failure of such endeavors, and provides an easy way to help a company stay on the right course.

Referenced Publication:

Thomas Wedell-Wedelsborg: “Are You Solving The Right Problems?”: https://hbr.org: January- February 2017 Issue

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