By Rowan Lemley, Product Marketing Manager, Global Operations, Basware.
Although there aren’t any instant ways to introduce an automated accounts payable system, making the transition can be quick and painless if you use certain techniques and measures.
This is the focus of an eBook that I’ve authored on Basware’s behalf. The eBook outlines the 7 Golden Rules for Accounts Payable Automation, and aims to offer a helpful framework that businesses can use when they make the switch from paper-based systems.
As the title suggests, there are 7 steps to this, which I’ve summarized below.
1. Agree on the scope
Without visualizing an end goal – i.e. where you want to be, it will be extremely difficult to make the crucial decisions about how you will an effective system with strong foundations. It’s very important for you to picture how invoice arrival, accounts payable invoice handling, review and approval, opportunities for automatic matching, payment options, archiving and stakeholder engagement will look.
2. Analyze existing processes
If you’re not confident that your existing system is effectively automated, you should look to do a full analysis of your controls and visibility, current invoice handling process and payments and stakeholder engagement. Done well, this will enable you to identify the areas that require most attention.
3. Sweat the details
In an ideal world, best practice would involve full e-invoicing being implemented. Yet, it’s not possible in every instance. The next best option is Scan & Capture of paper invoices, which is a good alternative. It’s also key to have a clear structure on your invoice pre-processing, invoice processing, invoice post-processing and auditing/reporting plans to ensure you can get the best results you can.
4. Standardization is more important than centralization
The modern state of technology now lets even the most decentralized organization function much more efficiently than in the past – videoconferencing is now quite often free. This shift means organizations are focusing on what is strategic and what isn’t, rather than centralizing inefficient functions.
5. Know your priorities
Control, visibility, efficiency and agility are integral to you having a successful accounts payable system. Think about what activities are core and which aren’t. What could be more effectively and efficiently managed by a third party? There are often many options to consider, but choosing the right priorities can contribute a lot to your business.
6. Map your priorities
We’ve spoken about identifying your priorities, but mapping them successfully is also essential. A company that has spent time analyzing what they have and what they don’t have provides a much better platform for success, and means that they don’t run the risk of repeating previous mistakes.
7. Be realistic
Success is ultimately the aim, but the extent of success should be outlined realistically prior to implementation. Well thought-out goals are motivating for you and your ROI.
Overall, the key for businesses is to be clear about the scope of a project and to make sure that due effort goes towards planning, rather than only looking at outcomes. These realistic expectations will ensure that the implementation will be smoother, and that you have a greater long term success.
Thanks for reading!