If we could re-think Accounts Payable, how would it look? – Part 2
Tuesday, 10 May 2016
Last year I talked about the transformation of Accounts Payable, here and at our Basware Connect event in London.
Andrew Dos Santos
Principal Business Consultant
Whether you see it as an evolution or revolution, we are likely to agree that over the last decade there have been considerable changes that have helped reshape the profile of Accounts Payable, and more broadly Purchase-to-Pay. This led me to present the view that while technology has enabled us to revolutionise how we do things; we perhaps have yet to revolutionise what we do.
At Basware Connect, I had a great opportunity to collaborate with many of you in our Value Vault on how AP should be organised and how it can create value. We asked you –
- What does your organisation expect Accounts Payable to do?
- Of these, what is AP not doing? and
- Ideally, what should AP be doing?
These questions looked to have inspired plenty of discussions with some great thoughts and ideas that we were lucky enough to have captured by our Scribe, Abigail. The end result is below.
(for those curious, some may notice that the discussion of what AP should not be doing turned to what AP should stop doing).
So, what do I think we can learn from this exercise?
- We have an opportunity to deliver value to our organisations by proactively seeking ways to remove the burdens of transacting throughout the Purchase-to-Pay cycle. Some suggestions included establishing a ‘One Stop Shop’ support experience for end users, creating a dedicated role to collaborate with others on find ways to automate transactions and providing mechanisms to manage inevitable exceptions (e.g. Fast Track invoice processing).
- Accounts Payable must do more to actively embrace the power of the connected commerce, such as the Basware Network, so that our organisations can reap the advantages e-invoicing, better supplier collaboration and overall transparency. Not doing so, on the day, was likened to having a laptop without access to the internet (or, dial-up).
- We need to rethink some of our performance measures and ensure they are aligned with the behaviours, and actions, that create value. Processing an invoice, arguably, does not create value and so a measure on the volumes processed by our team members doesn’t either. We can think about team KPI’s that measure levels of automation (i.e. least number of invoices touched), fraud and compliance – encouraging behaviour that seeks out root causes to problems.
- And, finally, there are exciting opportunities to innovate and deliver more on our promise to pay suppliers accurately and on time. This could include funding a dedicated role to maximise working capital optimization opportunities (such as Basware Discount) whilst implementing initiatives to return such benefits back to cost centre owners or shared service customers.
- We merely scratched the surface during our session last year and no doubt, for some, the time was too short. I am looking forward to building upon the session from last year and explore more innovative ideas that come from this type of collaboration.
As always, our Business Consulting team is here to help you – if you like any of these ideas and would like us to explore more with you, then please get in touch. You can reach me at Andrew.Dos.Santos@basware.com