The Retail Industry’s Guide to Automated Accounts Payable Software Solutions
Optimizing accounts payable is an important step for any business. In the retail industry, it’s vital. If you cannot pay your suppliers promptly, then there’s no guarantee they’ll keep filling your orders. If you’re not tracking payment deadlines closely, then you can lose money to late payment fees. The less efficient AP is, the more it costs your company. In the most extreme cases, issues with accounts payable can even threaten to sink your business.
A reliable, automated accounts payable solution can streamline AP processing, save money for your business, and free up employees to work on new tasks. This can all be an enormous help in the retail industry. Efficient accounts payable can improve your relationships with suppliers, improve your cash flow, and make it easier to reskill employees to meet the rapidly changing demands of retail.
This article is part of NextProcess’s Automate Your Industry blog series. Today, we’re looking at ways Account Payable automation software can help companies in the retail industry improve their AP processes. You might also be interested in reading the previous article in this series, “The Retail Industry’s Guide to Using Automation to Improve Purchasing and Inventory Management.”
The Role of Automation in Retail
One question many people have about bringing automation into their industry is whether or not it’s going to take away jobs from real people. At first, that might seem like it’s the case. When you read things like the 2019 report by McKinsey Global Institute that says, “about half of the activities in retail can be automated using current, at-scale technology,” it sounds like a lot of people could be replaced by automation. That’s not really the case, though.
In reality, business process automation is “more about the evolution of jobs, the creation of new ones, and reskilling” (“Automation in retail: An executive overview for getting ready”). Continuing on in this report, McKinsey says that retail can only fully automate 5% of current jobs. In addition, automating will create new jobs. Rather than replacing employees, automation makes their jobs easier and frees them up to focus on projects other than routine paperwork and paying bills.
Reduce Paperwork Pile-Up
One of the biggest ways that accounts payable automation can help in the retail industry is by cutting back on the paperwork piling up in the office. Many companies manage accounts payable on paper or with a blend of electronic and paper processing that’s not very efficient. Even companies that do have automation are often struggling to work with outdated software or find ways to handle paper copies of certain invoices and records.
NextProcess’s AP software quickly and reliably converts paper records to digital formats that are much easier to work with and don’t take up storage space in your offices. You can digitize all incoming invoices as well as past records. Our electronic document management system blends seamlessly with AP software to give you easy-to-search records that won’t take up office space, can’t be misplaced, and wouldn’t be destroyed by something like a fire or water leak in the office.
Streamline Payments and Save Money
Another key benefit that AP automation can offer retailers is the cost savings that come from streamlining accounts payable. Compared to organizations that manually process invoices, companies that fully automate AP save $14.93 per invoice (on average). Those savings can be a big help to any business, and retail is no exception.
The more you can streamline the accounts payable process, the less of a hassle it is for employees and the more money you’ll save. NextProcess’s software can auto-process up to 90% of your invoices. That saves your employees time, cuts back on processing costs, and eliminates late payments and late fees. With more control over your payments, you might even be able to negotiate early payment discounts from your suppliers.
Simplify Employee Training
Though you probably don’t see as high a rate of employee turnover in accounts payable as retailers tend to see in their store locations, it’s still important to have an AP system that’s easy for employees to use. Whether you’re implementing a new accounting system for existing employees, training new hires to work in AP, or implementing three-way matching in receiving, an automation system like NextProcess is easy to teach to your employees.
Our user-friendly software is intuitive and easy to learn. You’ll also have the full support of our customer service team backing up this training, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you or your employees have about using the software. Another great thing about our software is that the different modules work well together and function in similar ways. For example, if employees learn to use AP software, then it’ll also be easy for them to use the procurement software (if you choose to implement both).
Prepare for Reskilling Employees
One of the things the McKinsey report on automation in retail highlights is the importance of being able to reskill and redeploy your labor force in response to changing demands. Training employees in new skills is generally considered more cost-effective than hiring new employees.
Our automation software can’t help with retraining employees for social and emotional tasks or for all the technical skills they might need. But it can ensure that you’re not distracted by back-office processes that aren’t functioning efficiently. Accounts payable and procurement automation helps free up employees for other tasks and makes it easy to train new people to run AP and procurement processes.
Automate Accounts Payable Today
For the retail industry, automating accounts payable is one of the simplest ways to help your business thrive. Streamlining AP processing builds better relationships with your suppliers, saves your company money, and frees up employees so it’s easier to reassign and reskill them so you can adapt to the rapidly changing retail industry.
If you’d like to see how accounts payable automation can help your business, contact us today to schedule a free demo. We’ll answer any questions you have and show you exactly how our flexible, customizable software can match the unique needs of your company.