Dynamics AP Automation Pitfall #2 - Getting the Right Partner

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I was talking with a potential client the other day and the topic of scanning invoices came up. I asked them who they thought should do the scanning. The client said, “We are going to get the vendor to do that.” It took me what seemed like forever to figure out that they were talking about me! I had never seen myself as a vendor. I always thought a vendor was someone that was supplying a good or service… not what I do. Sure my offering was software, but to me there was so much more to it than just software. As I look back on the companies that are really happy about the work that I have done, they too consider me a partner. However, instead of using the term partner or vendor, I comfortably settled on the title of “service provider.”

Pitfall #2

In one of my previous blogs, I wrote about the first pitfall of AP Automation - knowing your current environment. This week I am going to give you a few tips to find the right service provider for your organization. This is an important sequence, meaning that you have to look internally before you can look externally.

A Few Things to Look For

When selecting a service provider, you need a lot of good ammo… you know, data. This is a big stop sign that people tend to blow by when selecting an automation service provider. The thing I coach people on is that you have to evaluate the impact of AP Automation rather than the process that automation will bring.  I know that seems confusing, but the difference is that the impact is an outcome, the process is what it does. Here are a few examples of both:

Impact

  • Cost Reduction
  • Return on Investment
  • Additional Time
  • Faster Approvals
  • No Late Fees

Process

  • How Do You Code?
  • Where Is The Invoice?
  • Who Is Doing The Approving?
  • How Do You Scan?

Now, don’t get me wrong - both are important. I don’t want it to come across that I am encouraging you to not review process functionality. What I am recommending is that you don’t make a decision based on functionality. The big difference between the two sets are numbers. Making a numbers-based decision gives you both a starting and a stopping point. Numbers don’t move and they aren’t necessarily open to interpretation.

Example

Here is an example looking at impact and using numbers to ensure your success. If your current cost to process an invoices is $22, which is the average I have gotten from doing my fair share of invoice cost studies, and service provider A says they will be able to bring that cost to $15, and service provider B says they can bring it to $9 and service provider C says, “I have no idea… now what are you talking about?” As long as service provider B’s functionality fits your needs, you have your answer. Don’t you just love numbers?

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