(PART 1) Automation is No Longer a Question of If – or When; It’s How Fast

7 Steps to Proving the ROI of AP Automation for Your Business

Those who work in accounts payable start their day with an inbox full of requests, invoices to be coded or approved, while management wonders where things are in the AP process. Oftentimes, it’s overwhelming, but “it is what it is.” 

If that’s what working on an AP team is like for you, it’s time to consider AP Automation. AP automation helps manage the out-of-control flow of purchasing-related documents; it increases efficiency, productivity, and reduces stress.  

In addition, the current business environment has a lot more staff working from home. AP automation can support your business continuity plans with the right access to all critical documents for everyone involved in your invoice process. 

Surprisingly, though, AP automation isn’t always a top priority for businesses. 

Often, the reasons that prevent companies from going digital include: 

  • Lack of budget 
  • No expectation of ROI from automation 
  • Lack of technical resources 

While these are all valid reasons, the truth is that, in this day and ageorganizations can’t afford to NOT go digital. Workspaces and environments are not what they used to be, nor do people have the time to be running in circles and managing manual processes. In addition, if they are working remotely, they may not even have access to the same documents and resources. 

We’ve created a step-by-step guide to determining if your business is ready to automate. 

Download the interactive PDF to follow along; fill in the blanks with your company’s statistics to help build your business case for automation. 

Step One 

The first step to learn whether your business is ready to automate is to look around your office. Maybe take a walk up and down the halls, and really look. Where is all of the paper? How much paper is on your desk? How many filing cabinets are taking up space on or off site? 

If the answers to any of these questions were painful, or embarrassing, it’s time to consider getting rid of the paper.   

Also consider these statistics: 

  • Filing cabinets cost an average of $25,000 to fill and $2,000 to maintain annually. 
  • Typical employees spend up to 50% of their time each day looking for documents. 

Think about it some more. How is your AP team feeling at the end of the month? Do they struggle to pay vendors on time? Is audit season a complete nightmare? 

It might be time to get rid of the paper with a document management system. 

Step Two 

Speaking of vendors, step two is to take a look at what your business relationship is like with your vendors. First, do you have visibility into invoice status when vendors, partners or employees inquire? Are your vendors getting paid on time? Do you know how much your company could save on discounts if your vendors were paid early? It’s something to think about. 

Step Three 

Now let’s think about the invoices. How many invoices does your business receive per month? What format do they arrive in? Email? Paper? Many accounts payable processes are still manual, paper-based, and take 35 days or more to complete the process from receipt to approval. They carry the risk of lost documents, late payments, frustrated vendors and stressed employees. With AP automation, the 35-day process of getting an invoice processed could be reduced to less than five! 

Consider this statistic: 

  • The cost to find a lost document is $125 and to replace it costs about $225. 

Check out this video on how AP automation can speed up inefficient processes. 

There’s a better way to manage your invoices. 

Tune back in for part two and part three of this blog series.