Rating Your AP Process with 5 Simple Questions

Posted by Randy Shonfeld on Mar 18, 2015 12:29:00 PM
See how your accounts payable processes rate!

Taking a look at your own processes can sometimes be painful, but it’s always important to know your strengths as well as your weaknesses.

We’ve put together a rating system that can help you see exactly how efficient your accounts payable process is.

So grab a pencil and a piece of paper and write the number of the answer that most closely describes your situation for each question. Ready? 


Which best describes your AP Process in terms of the amount of paper involved?
  1. Completely paper based
  2. Mostly paper based with some digital aspects
  3. Half of it is paper based and half of it is digital
  4. Primarily digital with few paper systems
  5. Completely digital; no paper is used
When trying to track down an invoice, which best describes your method?
  1. I have to go to an off-site storage unit and locate the physical document
  2. I have to go to our file room and locate the physical document
  3. I have to locate the folder the invoice is in on our hard drive
  4. I can run a search on our hard drive to locate the invoice
  5. I can run a search from any computer or device that has an internet connection and locate the invoice
In order to get approval for an invoice, you must:
  1. Place the invoice on the approvers desk and hope they see it and approve it
  2. Wait for the approver to get into the office and hand deliver the invoice to them and hope they approve it in a timely manner
  3. Fax the approver the invoice and wait for approval
  4. Email the approver a digital copy for approval
  5. The approver can approve the invoice from any device via email, web browser, or mobile app
How long does it typically take you to resolve a discrepancy?
  1. 3 Months
  2. 1 Month
  3. 2 Weeks
  4. 3-5 Business Days
  5. Resolved same day as receipt
How long does your entire AP process, from invoice receipt to clear for payment, typically take?
  1. 3 Months
  2. 1 Month
  3. 2 Weeks
  4. 3-5 Days
  5. 1-2 Days

Do you have your answers ready? Add up the numbers associated with each of your choices and see just how well your AP processes perform!

My accounts payable processes are…

Last Century Relics

5-10 points

Let’s face it; your AP processes are behind the times.Your AP processes are Last Century Relics.

The majority of your department runs on paper documents.  Filing cabinets are a staple of the office décor. Tracking down invoices and expediting approvals are like pulling teeth. The whole process from invoice receipt to payment can take an entire quarter, and you are always working on documents from weeks ago instead of days ago.

The situation may seem bleak, but there is still hope! Making the jump to paperless for your AP processes will save you money and sanity. IPS offers a full range of products to make the transition to digital both painless and rewarding. Everything from electronic invoicing and digital workflow services to document scanning and management are waiting to take you out of the Dark Age and into the future!

Primitive Works in Progress

11-16 points

Your AP processes are Primitive Works in ProgressYou’re on the right track! You’ve dabbled in the digital arts, but overall your processes are still sorely lacking the key components needed for true efficiency. Incoming documents are scanned and digitized as they get to you, but your system for indexing and searching through the database of these documents is missing the sophistication needed to truly harness the information you’re capturing.

“Fax number” is still a part of your regular vocabulary and you have memorized the numbers of the clients you keep in touch with the most. Resolving billing discrepancies are not exactly a walk in the park for your clients and vendors, and they can take you 2 or more weeks to complete.

Keep your momentum going and continue moving forward with your paperless transition—a digital mailroom will help you manage incoming documents of all types and from all sources, and ImageServ will set you up with an intelligent, fully searchable database of all the information you store.

Above-Average Performers

17-21 points

Nice! You’re headed in the right direction, but your digital arsenal could still use a bit of polishing to reach its full potential. 

Your AP processes are Above-Average Performers!

Your AP process from receipt to clear-for-payment can take anywhere from 3 to 5 days, but what if it only took 1 to 2 days? Approvals for invoices can be sent digitally, but waiting for it to be signed and returned leaves you at the mercy of the recipient. Finding a past or current invoice isn’t the headache it once was, but the folder filing system is not uniform and different employees use a variety of naming conventions for saved documents.

True productivity and efficiency are within your grasp! A document management service such as ImageServ will help you close the gap to becoming a truly paperless operation. You’ll have the ability to access critical documents from any location, and every employee can pull data from the same central database to avoid discrepancies. Sensitive information is secure and safe from disasters and tampering.

On top of all the improvements you’ve already made, you’ll get peace of mind and attain a level of productivity you could only dream about before.

Modern Day Marvels

22-25 points

Congratulations! You’ve done your due diligence and your work has paid off! Your AP processes are top notch.

You are strides ahead of the game and your business is running smoothly on digital gears. Enjoy sitting back and watching your productivity levels soar.

Don’t like the outcome of your score? Think there’s still room for improvement? Discuss your options for optimizing your AP processes during a free consultation.

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Tags: Accounts Payable, AP Workflow, Accounts Payable Processing