In the recent white paper by Basware, Driving Performance in Accounts Payable, we examine the role and opportunity for AP ‘change makers’. It’s an interesting read if you’ve got a few minutes in the airport lounge and have at times considered your own AP department and how you would improve things if you had the chance. Although the paper is full of interesting facts and figures, and well worth your time – I’ll give you a spoiler: anyone can be an AP Change Maker.
The white paper first introduces you to the impact change makers are having on today’s accounts payable departments. It then summarizes the recent evolutions and maturation of the department including some benchmark comparisons, and how you could assess your own results against others. It concludes (as you might expect) with a recommendation of how you might proceed on your own road to an automated accounts payable process.
Now, my position is somewhat unique, I suppose. Not only have I been one of the authors of the paper, I’ve also been directly connected to many actual AP Change Makers around the world. Part of my job is to seek out these people, often to tell their story and, even more often, to ask their opinions on how we could better support them in their efforts. What I’ve learned from these people is that they aren’t supermen (or superwomen for that matter). AP Change Makers do, however, find themselves in organizations with lots of room for improvement. They probably have all experienced challenges you would probably be able to relate to. They read the same reports and white papers as you do, and they are aware of the role new (and some not so new) technologies are playing in the evolution and automation of accounts payable. Most importantly, they are focused on working smarter – not harder.
I think that’s the key trait: an AP Change Maker (at least those I’ve met) is able to understand the value of automation, and is able to put together the business case. Most importantly, he/she is able to understand the value of a streamlined process, and how savings and efficiency can transition AP from a back office function into a strategic contributor in the organization. This shift can be quite dramatic and quite exciting for the people involved. Often for the first time, AP finds they truly have full visibility and control over the invoices in the system. Consolidation of spend (a dream for some) becomes routine and straight-through-processing for order or payment plan-based invoices becomes a major efficiency win. Additionally, data analytics are making both operational and strategic impact more and more possible. Whether you are an AP manager looking to manage and improve the various AP-related processes, or a CFO looking to optimize cash management, the tools available and the consolidated view of data open up many new doors.
And AP Change Makers get all of that. They take it upon themselves to understand how all of this fits together, what the true value is, and how it will make their organization more efficient and more effective. Read the white paper. It’s a good start if you are just kicking the tires and, at the same time, there’s lots there that will support someone building up a business case for automation – someone perhaps who is already an AP Change Maker.
Check it out and if you have any questions – shoot me an email.
Product Marketing Manager, AP Automation