The Green Sheet Online Edition
December 28, 2020 • Issue 20:12:02
Three simple steps for AP automation in 2021
We wish to thank Elizabeth Kowal, chief product officer at MineralTree, for sharing the following implementation steps for AP automation.
"Accounts Payable (AP) automation is on numerous wish lists for 2021. It offers big ROI, and COVID-19 has made it a priority due to remote work requirements. For new businesses, or those upgrading current AP automation initiatives, here are a few basics to keep in mind for bigger success.
- Measure where you are today: Get a clear idea of where you are starting from and where you want to get to. While this may seem obvious, the discipline of taking a clear measure can be illuminating and make your deployment more successful. How much time does it take to input a paper invoice into your financial system? How many people have to approve it? What does it cost to cut a paper check? Some solution providers have tools for calculating the hard costs; it's also important to factor in soft costs, such as what else staff can focus on with time saved through automation.
- Automate it all, or one piece at a time: Significant efficiencies are gained across the AP function, and the ROI multiplies when automating the end-to-end process. Some businesses have automated their entire process in two weeks. But it's not necessary to automate all at once. Some companies start on invoice intake and approval. Others focus on digitizing payments. These can be done in a few days. If automating the entire process might prevent you from getting started, find your quickest wins and greatest ROI with the least effort. Then expand from there.
- Track your progress: What goals did you set at the start of the project? How are you tracking them? How many invoices are paid electronically and by what payment method? What challenges have you encountered? What data can you now gather about your business that you couldn't before? Use this information to create visibility in the organization about your progress and its impact on the business."
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