To ensure your AP automation implementation is successful, it’s important to put together a comprehensive plan, as well as a realistic timeline.
Your plan should include the following steps:
1. Review your Existing AP Processes
Review which areas of the business will be impacted by the automation of your accounts payable processes. Identify which workflows will need to be updated, as well as any potential obstacles. Remember, automation won’t fix broken processes so it’s important to resolve any issues before implementing the new system.
Build a business case for AP automation
Once you’ve identified how AP automation will impact different areas of your business, you’ll need to start putting together a business case demonstrating why this transformation is needed and the benefits it could provide.
2. Secure Stakeholder Buy-in
Stakeholder buy-in is crucial for the successful implementation of an automated AP solution. As well as getting senior management on board, it’s also vital to get the buy-in of stakeholders across the organization.
Ensure that all stakeholders understand the reasoning behind the new system, how it will support their area of the business, and the plan for implementation.
Setting up a steering committee to help plan the implementation, including representatives from the departments that will be impacted such as the IT, finance, and procurement departments, will help secure their support for the project.
3. Identify your Requirements
To help identify your requirements when it comes to automating your AP processes, ask yourself questions such “what will my organization need from the new system?” and “which of our current processes, tasks, and functions should we automate?”
You should also consider factors such as compliance and reporting requirements.
4. Choose an AP Automation Provider
Once you have a clear idea of what you need from your AP automation solution, you can start vetting providers. The best way to do this is to produce a “Request for Proposal” (RFP) document outlining the scope of the project and your specific requirements. This can be sent to your shortlist of providers. You’ll then be able to use their responses to select the most appropriate provider. Remember to ask potential suppliers as many questions as you need - you might also want to ask for references and case studies.
As well as considering your immediate project needs, look further ahead and make sure you partner with a provider that can grow and expand with your business in the future. And remember to take into account additional factors such as the vendor’s reputation, experience and responsiveness.
5. Agree a Scope of Work
Once you’ve identified your needs and chosen your provider, you’ll need to negotiate terms and agree on a scope of work. This will allow both parties to set their expectations and understand exactly what needs to be delivered.
6. Create an Implementation Plan
The next step is to develop an implementation plan. This should cover all the tasks that need to be completed, as well as the timeline for completion.
Your implementation plan should also include a realistic timeline, taking into account any existing projects and deadlines. Having a realistic timeline from the beginning will ensure the project stays on track and isn’t negatively impacted by a lack of resources.
7. Training and Testing
Finally, you’ll need to test the implemented solution to ensure that it works and also meets the requirements outlined in the scope of work. Alongside testing, you’ll also need to keep track of your metrics to measure the impact that the automation is having.
When you’re happy with the system and how it has been implemented, your staff can then be trained on how to use it. All staff should be trained on the new solution, focusing on short, module-based training sessions and interactive, gamified training options to keep staff engaged.