4 Tough Problems AP Managers Face (and how to deal with them)
Modern Accounts Payable managers aren’t just responsible for making payments. They’re also in charge of overseeing employees, forecasting cash flow, and finding ways to make Accounts Payable more efficient. Responsibilities include connecting multiple banks, streamlining payment processes for vendors, tracking down incentives, and managing different payment channels.
The larger the company grows, the more overwhelming and time consuming these responsibilities get. Without automation to help keep track of your data you’ll quickly be swamped with work. But with automation, you’ll be better equipped to deal with the challenges modern Accounts Payable managers face.
1) Inefficient Invoice Processing
Everyone wants things done right now. Or perhaps last week. The expectation for speed as well as accuracy is a challenge for Accounts Payable managers. If your processing system isn’t fast enough you’ll end up making late payments. And that costs your company money and damages relations with vendors.
Automation makes invoice processing more efficient in several areas. These systems automatically match invoices to purchase orders and track them so the invoices due first get paid on time. Exceptions (including non-standard invoices and documents with discrepancies) get caught and routed for manual approval. If you find after automating that your exception rates are still too high, the system makes it easy to adjust your custom standardization and refine your business rules.
2) Lack Of Support
Accounts Payable managers face pressures from all sides. Treasury and finance executives want you to account for expenses and forecast how much cash the Accounts Payable department will need. Vendors want to know why you haven’t paid them yet. And there’s also the pressure of managing staff.
All this is made worse if your boss doesn’t see that the Accounts Payable department needs help. If you’re not yet working with a modernized, automated Accounts Payable department then you’ll need a way to get executives excited about an overhaul. For more ideas, check out our article 3 Steps To Getting Your Boss On-Board With AP Automation.
3) Inaccurate Data
If you’re still working with a manual Accounts Payable system, human error is inevitable when inputting data. Even minor, accidental errors will throw off your data, slow down processing, make it harder to meet closing deadlines, and affect audits.
Accounts Payable automation instantly provides increased control and visibility. Instead of inputting data manually, the system automatically collects information from electronic invoices. Paper invoices are scanned, then processed just like the electronic ones. And if you choose NextProcess, our proprietary data capture technology ensures over 99% accuracy on every invoice.
4) Managing Different Channels
It used to be that invoices arrived on paper and you paid them with paper checks. Not anymore. Invoices can arrive printed or handwritten on paper, via fax, or in an email. Payments can go out as a paper check, via ACH epayments, or by direct deposit. And it’s your job to keep track of all that and make sure your department can process all the incoming invoices and make payments according to the supplier’s preferred method.
Automation brings all the invoices into one place so they can be processed the same regardless of how you received them. It also helps you make payments as the supplier requests by maintaining a database of your suppliers. On top of that, Accounts Payable systems with a self-service portal save you time by letting suppliers log-in to see their invoice status rather than calling you.
In addition to Accounts Payable Automation Software, NextProcess also offers Payment Solutions to make electronic and print payments more manageable. Like all our software, both are user-friendly and work well on their own or paired with other software. Contact us for a demonstration of how one or both can help your AP department overcome the challenges you’re facing.