The Dynamics GP Experience: Building a Business Case for AP Automation

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Change can be scary. Embracing new roles and responsibilities often opens the door to headaches and confusion. Fueled by ever-evolving technology, the Robotic Revolution challenges existing day-to-day duties, offering improved efficiency and visibility in a fraction of the time. Even with all the productivity perks, many finance department leaders, however, are still hesitant to trust technology with accounts payable processes.

Looking for a way to build a business case and persuade a hesitant leader to consider implementing AP automation in the near future? Check out the top talking points to get your business on board.

Understanding AP automation

It’s important to give finance department leaders a clear understanding of what accounts payable automation (AP automation) is. In short, AP automation is a cloud-based solution that integrates with accounting system software to streamline accounts payable workflows. AP automation solutions minimize manual, paper-based processes including payments, invoices, and approvals.

Save the day by cutting costs and the clock

In Ardent Partners’ ePayables 2016 report, the number one focus for AP leaders is to reduce processing costs. Naturally, AP automation may seem quite costly to implement and maintain. But, in fact, manual processes result in spending more time and money than a cloud-based solution.

According to The State of ePayables 2017, 58% of surveyed businesses are still sticking to manual invoices. Those businesses are spending over $22 to manually process a single invoice, while best-in-class businesses are spending $12.01—almost half of the all-inclusive cost.

The big question is how are they cutting these costs? The top performers are adjusting to the Digital Era by implementing e-invoicing to import invoices and extract data electronically. E-invoicing stores all invoices in one secure organized hub—regardless of entry method. Automation manages invoices and payment processes based on data and peripherals that you set.  

Processing payments with AP automation and Dynamics GP provides visibility and control of spend and budget. According to PayStream Advisors, companies relying heavily on checks or ACH payment methods typically experience more processing challenges than those that employ a diverse mix, such as electronic payables platforms and commercial card programs. Implementing full ePayment solutions streamlines the tedious tasks associated with payment management.

Trusting a full-service ePayment system includes virtual cards and ACH payments and the ability to approve and pay invoices with the click of a button. These solutions utilize transactional pricing models, which makes them ideal for midmarket companies because you only pay for what you use. Payment solutions enable organizations to rely less on manual methods and to shift much of the processing burden to the provider.

Worry less about security and scams

In a recent PYMNTS.com article, APEX Analytix Senior Vice President Phil Beans highlighted the biggest burden of most accounts payable processes.

“The front-end process is manual, and data flows through too many hands. Only a limited number of outside data sources are taken into account, and vendor master teams are pressured to push through the changes to meet processing SLAs (Service Level Agreement).”

According to the Association for Financial Professionals’ 2017 Payment and Fraud Control Survey, checks continue to be the top target for payment fraud. When it comes to fraud, none of the security measures for paper checks beat the security of accounts payable automation. To fight fraud, finance departments should invest more in cloud-based payment solutions and security platforms. Even though paper-based payment processes may seem safe internally, there’s actually less visibility, accurate reporting, and control.

With automation, there’s less worry about the paper trail falling into the wrong hands. Most AP automation services include fraud protection, such as ‘Positive Pay’, an automated fraud monitoring system that searches for red flags and suspicious vendor changes including duplicate electronic payments and invoices.

Even though AP automation does the heavy lifting of payables management, it’s critical to put the proper procedures in place during tax season. Payment automation does just that with updated tax law compliance by ensuring that proper payment checkpoints are in place. That includes verifying vendor documents, payables, and approvals.

Invest in the future of your employees

Accounting department sizes vary depending on the company. Employees may wear many hats in the department depending on the needs. The number of employees does not matter as much as their time does. How are your full-time AP employees (FTE) spending their time?

An example is the exception rate. Think about how much time is spent correcting data errors or getting approvals. A 2017 study from PwC found that 40 percent of the accounts payable process can be automated—including billing and reporting. Reducing manual tasks allows time for focusing on analyzing financial findings for leadership. Top performers spend 20 percent more time focusing on studying data instead of gathering it. The more time employees spend on workflows increases the cost per invoice and decreases efficiency.

The bottom line

AP automation can save the workday with fewer manual mistakes and more controlled costs. In our upcoming webinar “Building a Business Case for AP Automation” you’ll learn why your business should implement a payment solution sooner rather than later. Learn from experts about how automation has transformed manual, tedious tasks in seconds. By the end, you’ll be ready to improve reporting, invoice entry, and payments with the click of a button. Join us on Wednesday, March 14 at 1PM ET to learn more.

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