Congratulations! You’ve taken the leap and automated your AP department’s invoicing system. This took a lot of careful consideration, after which you realized the benefits AP automation can bring to your company.

What now?

Now you begin to enjoy the fruits of your decision. But to get the most out of leading AP automation, some more thought and action is in order.

Start by looking back at where your AP department was a year ago. What were the costs, and what was causing those costs? For example, you might find that your department regularly incurred penalties for missing payment deadlines. What was causing these delays? Were there a lot of errors to correct? What was the average processing time, and why was it taking so long? Maybe the late-pay penalties weren’t so bad, but a lot of early-pay discounts offered by your vendors were left on the table. How could you have qualified for these savings?

Now, set some goals for the coming year. Accounts payable automation can cut invoice processing time dramatically – sometimes to as little as three days. How many early-pay discounts can you take advantage of? The main reasons you automated were to save time and money, so plan on getting all you can out of it.

Once you have these objectives clarified, get the company on board! The whole company should be contributing toward achieving your goals, not just the AP department. Make sure they understand what AP automation can and will do, and why it’s important they follow the system. This is especially true with those responsible for procurement and approval of invoices.

Next, get your vendors on board. Don’t just get them on the system. Take the time to demonstrate what it does and how they will be involved. Show (don’t just tell) them how they are going to benefit from AP automation as well. Quicker payments, real-time access to information about their account, etc. This is for them, too. Let them know.

One other thing to consider is getting a V-card account. A virtual card works much like a MasterCard. One-time payments between businesses are processed using a 16-digit account number for each transaction. It’s safe, fast and works well with AP automation.

Once all these things are in place, put your automated system to work. See what it can do, then set newer, even better, goals. The benefits of cutting-edge AP automation are numerous, and the more you learn the more you’ll gain from it. In fact, when used optimally, your return on investment should take no more than one year. Now there’s something else to look forward to.