Automation: What’s in it for an AP Manager?

If you’re an AP manager, you’ve already heard the hue and cry: “Time to automate!” No doubt you’ve been told about the convenience of AP automation compared to paper invoicing systems. You also realize that everything else in business has gone digital or is headed that way.

And yet you still shy away from investigating E-invoicing. Why is that? Maybe there’s no pressure coming from the C-suite. Or perhaps the perceived hassle and cost of automating scares you. Besides, how do you propose such a change when your company has proudly used the same paper system since its inception?

In other words, what’s in it for you when you’ll only upset the apple cart? Honestly, everything.

Let’s face it. Accounts Payable isn’t the most visible department. You’re there to get the bills paid. The invoices come in, they get reviewed, maybe matched with a PO, approved, processed, and paid. At least that’s how other departments see you. But you know there’s much more to it than that.

First of all, as AP manager, you have a relationship with every outside vendor your company uses. It’s your job to see they’re treated well so that things don’t break down on the supply end. Good, reliable vendors are your lifeblood, and you want to keep them happy. Yet every month you find yourself straining to process paper invoices and get paper checks out the door on time.

You also have an important relationship with other departments within your company. The ones that procure supplies from outside vendors are affected when bills don’t get paid timely. And then there’s that monthly dance where you and one or more procuring managers try to figure out what happened to that elusive paper invoice she or he was supposed to approve weeks ago. An irritating disruption in both your busy schedules.

And let’s not forget the personnel within your own department. They have to field calls from those irritated vendors. And how about wasted labor? How many times have you wanted to get your staff started on some important task, only to have them bogged down in the never-ending paper treadmill?

Using cutting-edge AP automation can solve these problems, and much more. With high-level automation, processing invoices takes a fraction of the time and cost. Invoices never get lost on someone’s desk because they’re stored in your company’s computer server and instantly accessible. Vendors, too, are able to see what’s going on with their invoice from their own office. All of this means less stress and more time for tackling other projects. It also means substantial savings, not just from eliminating paper, postage and labor hours, but from turning late-pay fees into fast-pay discounts.

So again, what’s in it for you as a manager? Besides the accolades you’ll receive for reducing headaches and saving your company money, you’ll enjoy the feeling you get when you know your AP department is running at full speed, helping the company compete in this modern, fast-paced business world.

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