5 Questions To Ask Before You Automate AP
Automating your accounts payable department is a big step, one that can help your company improve invoice processing and save money. As more and more companies go digital and automate their business processing, it’s time to move automation for AP and other departments to the top of your priority list.
Even if automation is something you want to get started with as soon as possible, you don’t want to rush into it. Many of today’s automated systems can be implemented very quickly and that might make it tempting to rush through getting things digitized. However, you’ll get the most value out of you new software if you spend a little extra time prepping for the switch to automation.
To make sure the transition goes smoothly, there are five questions you should answer before going ahead with automation. Asking and answering these questions will help ensure you get accounts payable automation right the first time.
1) What’s Our Goal For Automation?
Implementing a new business processing system goes more smoothly when you have a defined goal. Before automating the accounts payable department, you’ll need to ask yourself what you want to get out of this change. Are you trying to lower the cost-per-invoice? Streamline processing to eliminate late fees and get early payment discounts? Keep more accurate records?
When you define your goals for accounts payable automation, you’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking for in an automation software system. Setting goals at the beginning will also give you a baseline for measuring your success as you roll-out AP automation.
This is also a good time to define a best practices policy that will govern your accounts payable department going forward. Having your policies up-to-date and clear will make it easier to customize your new software to support compliance.
2) Who’s On Board With AP Automation?
Getting upper-level finance executives and the IT department on board with automating accounts payable is often a challenge. For automation to happen, everyone involved in the final decision has to recognize the need for it. If some are still hesitant, then your AP automation plan needs to include a business case that makes an airtight case for automation.
This starts with doing your research. You need to be able to show how automation will improve the AP department and why such improvements are needed. Here are two articles that can help:
- 3 Steps To Getting Your Boss On-Board With AP Automation
- Best Tips For Getting IT Management On Board With AP Automation
3) How Will AP Employees Use Their Time?
Automation minimizes the amount of time employees have to spend processing invoices. That raises questions about how accounts payable employees will use their time once automation is in place. It also brings up the subject of whether or not automation will make real people lose their jobs.
Typically, automation makes AP employees’ jobs easier rather than replacing them entirely. Process automation isn’t about taking jobs away, but rather about making human jobs easier. Automation takes over repetitive, mundane tasks. Now your employees will have time to focus on quickly processing exceptions invoices, dealing with suppliers, and other more value-added tasks for the company.
4) What Will Automation Cost?
Figuring an exact cost for accounts payable automation depends on several factors. The size of your company and which software system you choose will heavily influence the final cost. At NextProcess, for example, we charge per document processed. That means you’ll only pay for what you use in a given month.
Cost-per-invoice isn’t the only factor. There’s also implementation, training, and support to consider. A cloud-based SaaS system like ours is typically very easy and low-cost to implement. There’s also a quick learning curve with our user-friendly software.
Software support is handled by the company whose software you’re using, so that helps keep costs down. It also makes things easier for your IT department.
5) Which AP System Will We Use?
You need a system that meets your automation goal, works with your existing process, is easy to use, and adds value to your business. There are plenty of different options available. These options range from setting up an on-site server that will handle AP automation, to cloud-based software your employees use, to outsourcing the entire department.
Choosing an SaaS (Software as a Service) provider for accounts payable automation is the best choice for getting a flexible, user-friendly system that saves money and time. Unlike big software providers, SaaS companies offer responsive customer support and regular software updates in addition to their customizable software system. You’ll also get transaction-based pricing and lower implementation fees so you save more money from the very beginning.
Now that you’ve answered the five questions you need to ask before automating accounts payable, it’s time to start moving forward and getting started with automation. NextProcess makes it easy to automate your entire AP department at once. We designed our system to seamlessly integrate with most existing ERPs and make automation as simple as it is useful. Plus, our SaaS system scales to your business so it’s specifically tailored to your accounts payable needs.
Our highly customizable software is the best all-around solution to your automation needs. But you don’t just have to take our word for that. To see first-hand just how well our system can work for you, simply contact us and we’ll set up a free demonstration.