Succeeding in today’s global economy requires businesses to make fast, informed decisions.
But paper-based and semi-automated accounts payable processes are putting most businesses at a disadvantage:
- Essential information is not captured or accurate
- Data is poorly organized
- Information is not timely
- Systems are not well-integrated
- Decision-makers do not have access to key variables
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Automated accounts payable solutions centralize invoices with all the related data and documents on one platform, instantly delivering information whenever, and wherever, authorized users need it. As a result, businesses have complete visibility into their operations, working capital, corporate spending and risks.
Here are five ways that businesses benefit from accounts payable transformation:
1. Improved productivity.Graphical dashboards provide accounts payable managers with real-time visibility into the status of invoices and Key Performance Indicators such as invoice volume, operator productivity, approval cycle times and unresolved exceptions. Ready access to this information enables managers to monitor operational performance, proactively resolve bottlenecks, analyze trends, and uncover the root cause of production issues. For instance, accounts payable managers can see invoices that have languished on an approver’s desk. Data can be personalized by role and presented in the format desired by the user.
2. Better corporate agility.
- Pre-configured reports provide stakeholders with valuable information such as operational statistics, working capital performance and corporate spending. These reports can be used across the enterprise to analyze trends, identify potential issues and make proactive decisions. For instance, procurement can access reports detailing spending by supplier, category or business unit for any time period. Reports can be easily exported for broad distribution. Custom reports also can be created based on stakeholder requirements.
3. Enhanced working capital performance.
- The accrual reporting and other working capital insights provided by automated accounts payable solutions allow businesses to better manage and more accurately project cash flow. Aggregating invoices on a single platform eliminates the possibility of unanticipated invoices. Treasury can see invoices that are approaching the expiration of early payment discounts. CFOs can see the percentage of invoices paid to terms. Procurement can identify budget variances. And the finance department can more easily compile the data it needs for the month-end accounting close and reporting process.
4. Less risk.
Automation creates transparent, consistent processes and imposes a clear and systematic segregation of duties. System access is controlled. Accounts payable managers can view a complete audit trail for every action taken on an invoice, including exceptions decisions. Automation eliminates the possibility of lost or misfiled invoices. Images and data are automatically retained in a secure repository based on business requirements and/or regulations. And a supplier’s invoices can be instantly retrieved for review by auditors.
5. Greater scalability.
Enhanced visibility into accounts payable operations maximizes the use of staff. Supervisors can view and manage electronic queues for accessing, prioritizing and distributing work. Supervisors also can instantly view an employee’s workload and productivity. Automated solutions also offer visibility and reduce exceptions. And best of breed accounts payable solutions can be integrated with legacy ERP applications for end-to-end processing and complete reporting.
Accounts payable transformation provides the visibility and reporting that businesses need to effectively manage their cash flow and corporate spending, while enhancing efficiency, compliance and security.
It is no surprise that half of accounts payable professionals identify “increased visibility” as a factor justifying the cost of automation projects, according to the Institute of Financial Operations (IFO).
Want to achieve transparency in your accounts payable department?
Contact IPS today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with one our transformation experts.