[Article] Benefits of AP Automation: Why Companies of All Sizes Should Be Taking Advantage
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×
 

[Article] Benefits of AP Automation: Why Companies of All Sizes Should Be Taking Advantage

on

  • 341 views

The time for change has come. Our current economic realities and the associated ...

The time for change has come. Our current economic realities and the associated
regulatory environment are driving the evolution of AP. Market leaders are harnessing
new processes and technologies to achieve previously unheard of levels of timeliness,
accuracy, visibility and control. While many businesses remain tied to labor-intensive
manual processing, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for them to match automated
competitors—or address concerns central to Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance.

Statistics

Views

Total Views
341
Views on SlideShare
341
Embed Views
0

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
1
Comments
0

0 Embeds 0

No embeds

Accessibility

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Adobe PDF

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

[Article] Benefits of AP Automation: Why Companies of All Sizes Should Be Taking Advantage [Article] Benefits of AP Automation: Why Companies of All Sizes Should Be Taking Advantage Document Transcript

  • The Benefits of AP Automation: Why Companies of All Sizes Should Seize the Advantage PETER BEPLER, CO-FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF ANYBILL Since the days of the dinosaur, or thereabouts, manual accounting systems and paper-based invoices have been the backbone of Accounts Payable departments. These familiar tools and processes met the needs of 19th and 20th century enterprises, supporting the financial reporting and control of nearly every organization in the world. The time for change has come. Our current economic realities and the associated regulatory environment are driving the evolution of AP. Market leaders are harnessing new processes and technologies to achieve previously unheard of levels of timeliness, accuracy, visibility and control. While many businesses remain tied to labor-intensive manual processing, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for them to match automated competitors—or address concerns central to Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance. Top-performing firms are realizing significant benefits through AP automation. Five key advantages gained include: 1) COST ADVANTAGE through reduced operating expenses 2) CASH MANAGEMENT ADVANTAGE through better forecasting and working capital management 3) DISCOUNT AND REBATE ADVANTAGE plus penalty avoidance 4) SIMPLIFIED COMPLIANCE with SOX and other government regulations 5) FRAUD MITIGATION deter fraud before it occurs and detect if it does ANYBILL.COM | INFO@ANYBILL.COM 1 1801 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 700 | Washington, DC 20006 | W 202-682-6300 | F 202-833-2141
  • THE BENEFITS OF AP AUTOMATION: WHY COMPANIES OF ALL SIZES SHOULD SEIZE THE ADVANTAGE An AP Makeover A 2013 report by PayStream Advisors shows, “More SME’s (small to medium enterprises) rank themselves as innovators, having made significant investments in automation—up 6 percent to 21 percent in 2012.” The transition to automation is at last gathering speed, having been slowed in the past by aversion to change, assumptions about cost, and misalignment between the CFO and AP department goals. The focused, operational concerns of a typical AP department are shown in The Accounts Payable Network’s chart below. TOP CONCERNS WORKING IN ACCOUNTS PAYABLE Improving process/reducing errors 27% Automating manual processes 15% Managing time/improving productivity 12% On time payments 11% Reducing costs 8% Leading and motivating staff 7% Complying with tax and regulatory issues 6% Developing and maintaining effective policies 5% Communicating with internal and external customers 4% Visibility of payables for cash management 2% Spend analysis 1% Other 2% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 The CFO’s concerns are broader, including the economy (i.e., consumer demand, Federal policies, and price pressure) and the company in total (i.e., working capital management and ability to maintain margins and forecast results). While the goals of each correspond, true process streamlining relies on their skillful combination, and a clear articulation of AP automation’s benefits. The goals of your organization’s CFO and AP department are combined through agreement on the need for, and method of, process change. This means centralization of AP, and commitment to automation. The benefit of automation can be communicated to the CFO in the context of shared goals, such as improved visibility, margin maintenance through spend analysis, elimination of costly manual processes, and savings achieved through on-time payments. ANYBILL.COM | INFO@ANYBILL.COM 2 1801 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 700 | Washington, DC 20006 | W 202-682-6300 | F 202-833-2141
  • THE BENEFITS OF AP AUTOMATION: WHY COMPANIES OF ALL SIZES SHOULD SEIZE THE ADVANTAGE With the appropriate automation solution in place, its economic benefits are quickly apparent. Expect increased productivity, greater visibility and discount capture, and better vendor pricing. PRODUCTIVITY. The combination of automated solutions and process change delivers the greatest results to AP departments. Centralizing AP into a shared service environment, for example, and the integration of front-end scanning and e-invoicing boosts staff productivity. Invoices pass through fewer “touch points,” and management can become more strategic in business planning, expense management and resource allocation. VISIBILITY. Through automation, data becomes visible from the moment of entry. This means accruals can be made more accurately, and all invoices can be tracked at any point by AP, Purchasing and/or vendors. Enhanced, comprehensive data reporting means cash requirements can accurately be forecast, progress can easily be tracked against financial goals, and blind spots are reduced. DISCOUNT CAPTURE. Fast cycle times let companies target discount capture. Automation cuts the number of days it takes to make a vendor payment, resulting in demonstrably higher levels of efficiency and profitability. One major corporation estimates a $200 million addition to the bottom-line gained through discounts. Automation also saves money through improved spend analysis and supply standardization—catching inefficiencies like buying a product from the same vendor at different prices. Selecting an Automation Vendor Your selection of an automation vendor begins with several considerations: a) How will the chosen solution fit into your existing organization—and future plans, b) Do you have monthly or seasonable scalability considerations and have you allowed for M&A activity, and c) Have you looked at short-term options as part of a longer-term solution (i.e., the use of scanning while automating invoice processing)? The rising popularity of cloud-based services is indisputable. Software as a Service (SaaS) has proven itself as one of the best ways to minimize set-up and configuration costs while boosting overall efficiency. It offers other advantages including off-site back-up storage and recovery, secure availability from any location, and automatic updates. Finally, as companies of all sizes embrace AP automation, they find integration with existing in-house technologies and processes can be relatively simple when they’ve paired with a capable vendor. ANYBILL.COM | INFO@ANYBILL.COM 3 1801 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 700 | Washington, DC 20006 | W 202-682-6300 | F 202-833-2141
  • THE BENEFITS OF AP AUTOMATION: WHY COMPANIES OF ALL SIZES SHOULD SEIZE THE ADVANTAGE Summary With automation, AP departments are uniquely positioned to cut costs, improve operational efficiency, and enhance regulatory compliance. The attending process changes align the goals of the CFO and AP departments by reducing costly errors, switching staff focus to more strategic areas, maintaining (or improving) margins, and more. The trend toward automation is undeniable and continues to gain momentum. As mentioned above, the time for change has come. Organizations that postpone adoption of AP automation also postpone leveraging a powerful competitive weapon. About the Author Peter directs Anybill’s business strategy, focusing on the company’s marketing, sales, channel partners and communications. As a co-founder, he plays a key role in developing the Anybill solution and championing accounts payable automation for the SMB market. Before co-founding Anybill, Peter was Director of Business Development for UniverseONE, Inc., a pioneer of online marketing. There he developed and implemented web marketing strategies for clients and spearheaded the development of online marketing best practices. Peter holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Kenyon College. In his free time he enjoys jumping out of helicopters. About Anybill Built on the premise that all payments are critical, Anybill was created in 2001 to transition any AP transaction to an automated solution. We combine our proprietary technology with unmatched customer service to deliver a complete Software-as-a-Service solution. Clients retain efficient workflows while gaining greater visibility and control, better cash flow management, streamlined approval processes, 24/7 accessibility, and increased auditor confidence. Anybill works with clients ranging from non-profit associations to some of the largest multinationals. We are headquartered in Washington, DC, and are SSAE 16 SOC compliant.  ANYBILL.COM | INFO@ANYBILL.COM 4 1801 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 700 | Washington, DC 20006 | W 202-682-6300 | F 202-833-2141