Adjusting to new ways of working has been a whirlwind for accounts payable departments.
...Offices had to be closed
...Disaster recovery plans had to be activated
...Process and procedures had to be adapted
Transitioning to a remote work environment was easier for completely digital departments. Things have been a lot more challenging for those departments that are dependent on manual, on-premise software and paper-based processes.
But accounts payable departments largely have settled into an operational rhythm.
It may not be pretty, or optimal, but it is getting the job done.
Most accounts payable departments have overcome operational disruption and pay suppliers on-time, according to the results of a poll conducted by the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM).
Now accounts payable departments are taking stock of their new reality. There is no telling how long it will be before accounts-payable teams fully return to the office, or if they ever will.
This means accounts payable needs to revisit the systems, software and processes for delivering sustainable efficiency.
Accounts payable leaders must ask themselves whether the way they are doing things:
…is optimized for remote working environments
…helps employees work smarter, not longer
…provides adequate visibility into the invoice approval process
…ensures control and accountability over the entire invoice approval process
…helps businesses work closer and more collaboratively with suppliers
Leaders who answer ‘no’ to any of these questions may want to rethink their approach to invoice processing. Manual, outdated invoice processes make no sense in a remote work environment. No one wants to be sent into harm’s way into the office to deal with paper invoices from suppliers. Stacks of invoices cannot be walked into a department head’s office for approval. Routing invoices via e-mail increases the chances that an invoice will be lost or misrouted, leading to delays. Paper processes make it difficult to access the cash flow information required to navigate tough times.
Departments must prioritize digital solutions that enable staff to work efficiently, from anywhere.
But the idea of transitioning to a completely digital environment is overwhelming to many accounts-payable leaders. After all, there are lots of vendors, solutions, and approaches to sort through.
A good starting point is to identify areas of your operation that are fall short of today’s needs, to identify key functionality and features that are critical in an automated accounts payables solution.
The IPS Power Index makes it easy for accounts payable leaders to take stock of things.
The free online assessment tool only takes a few minutes to complete. But the results show accounts payable leaders the areas of their operation that need the most attention in the new reality.
Need expert advice on migrating to a digital accounts-payable environment?
Contact us to arrange a 20-minute, no-obligation consultation with one of our automation experts.