Payables Automation – Everyone can do it

Last week, we met with a rapidly growing software company that was a global leader in their niche.  They continue to grow in the double digits.  However, their cash flow and profitability was hampered by two issues – travel/expense processing and accounts payable.

We showed them our paperless accounts payable and expense processing solution.  Almost immediately, their finance and accounting team realized they could cut their time to process invoices and expense reports by 90%.  They would also be freed up to take on more responsibility, particularly working with the sales and services team to improve profitable growth and cash flow.  With that, they are now planning to go live in August with our solution.

As we connect with accounting functions across a wide range of industries and show them the tools available to automate their accounts payable and expense reporting, these same accounting functions soon realize the power they can tap into to become a ‘key person’ for their company.

With our paybles and expense report automation solutions in place at other clients, our clients’ transactional accounting functions are rapidly lowering their per invoice processing costs while dramatically improving transparency, visibility and control.  They are soon becoming a source of advice (i.e. spend analytics) and a role model for other functions on control, efficiency and effectiveness.

Like any accounting entry, there are two sides for every automation solution.  AP and expense report automation is having some positive impacts to the organization.  By eliminating manual efforts, people’s time is freed up to take on new work and assignments more valuable than shuffling paper and data entry.  We have seen accounts payable departments become internal auditors and spend analysts as opposed to employees that just were doing data entry and answering phones.  But we’ve also seen the slashing of two-thirds of a department after automation.  In today’s economic reality, we understand that some organizations must reduce headcount so they can become more productive, more competitive and able to survive.

Either way you look at it, for any CFO/VP Finance/Controller, the move to payables and expense automation is pretty straightforward and very compelling.  After our solutions have gone in, we have seen many promotions occur and his/her credibility increase internally and externally.  However, we have also had to coach individuals who directly oversee payables through the transition as they see the number of employees they oversee and their workloads drop dramatically.

The point is that the time has now arrived for accounting to transform itself into a trusted advisor and analytics function.  The technology to automate much of the payables work and eliminate data entry time is now readily available at a cost of an IPAD (in some cases).  All that is required is the courage for accounting functions to say yes to paper elimination and begin to implement the payables automation technology now available.

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