FOR SMBs, THE CLOUD
HAS A SILVER LINING

A Conversation on the Need to Automate AP in 2014
PETER BEPLER, CO-FOUNDER AND PR...
FOR SMBS, THE CLOUD HAS
A SILVER LINING

We eventually developed a realistic plan for onboarding cloud-based AP automation...
FOR SMBS, THE CLOUD HAS
A SILVER LINING

In summary, SMBs will find the incentives to adopt AP automation go far beyond th...
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For SMBs, The Cloud Has a Silver Lining

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The simple beauty of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud-based solutions lies in their ability to deliver secure, scalable technologies without excessive set-up, infrastructure, storage, and ongoing maintenance costs. Their flexibility makes them the perfect solution for SMBs with dynamic (or less than huge) invoice volume, and their expanding presence means many models and price levels are available.

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For SMBs, The Cloud Has a Silver Lining

  1. 1. FOR SMBs, THE CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING A Conversation on the Need to Automate AP in 2014 PETER BEPLER, CO-FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF ANYBILL If you’re like me, you work with people holding a broad range of feelings toward technology: from those who fear its complexity to those who embrace its challenges. Today, business fortune favors those who embrace technology and use it to their best advantage. This point was made to me very clearly in a conversation with a small business owner. Her business has enjoyed slow, steady growth, but she worried about rising competitive, financial, and technical challenges. Success in the coming year meant, once again, increasing productivity without a corresponding increase in resources. After asking a few questions I uncovered a productivity paradox: although she was familiar with the benefits of automating accounts payable, her enterprise was firmly rooted in manual, paper-based processes. Every week her AP staffers processed stacks of paper invoices by hand—a painfully slow and time-consuming exercise that burned manpower and sapped morale. Her reluctance to automate AP stemmed from anticipated set-up costs and the belief that her firm was too small to achieve ROI from the investment. These concerns were familiar and understandable. And so, as we talked over coffee, I made my case for adopting AP automation this year. I told her a rapidly growing percentage of SMBs have already adopted cloudbased technologies like AP automation. Forbes, PayStream, IDC and others predict adoption of cloud software and services will continue to increase in 2014, with much of the growth coming from SMBs like hers. The simple beauty of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud-based solutions lies in their ability to deliver secure, scalable technologies without excessive set-up, infrastructure, storage, and ongoing maintenance costs. Their flexibility makes them the perfect solution for SMBs with dynamic (or less than huge) invoice volume, and their expanding presence means many models and price levels are available. ANYBILL.COM | INFO@ANYBILL.COM 1 1801 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 700 | Washington, DC 20006 | W 202-682-6300 | F 202-833-2141
  2. 2. FOR SMBS, THE CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING We eventually developed a realistic plan for onboarding cloud-based AP automation at her firm in the first quarter of the year. Though it’s still early, I’m confident her business’ AP function will see increased efficiency, reduced operating cost, and improved vendor relations within the next two quarters. As suggested earlier, the maturation of cloud technology allows most SMB-targeted solutions to get up and running quickly, delivering a short path to the anticipated benefits and ROI. Following this conversation, I considered several, less obvious arguments for adopting AP automation. These reflect feedback from SMB clients my firm, a cloud-based accounts payable solutions provider, has worked with in the past year. These points, listed below, are connected by anticipation of growth and desire for greater agility. They are: ++ An Essential Strategy for SMBs: Even in challenging economic times, SMBs have leveled the playing field through acquisition of large enterprise AP capabilities. This readily accessible technology is reshaping what it means to be an SMB, with even the smallest firms enjoying fewer duplicate invoices and discrepancies, reduced fraud risk, and greater ability to capture supplier discounts. ++ Positioning for the Future: As AP automation has become more readily available, more SMBs are harnessing it for competitive advantage. Smart executives are embracing the technology now, preparing for the rise in tech-savvy millennials in their workforce, and for anticipated pressure on businesses to go “paper free.” As mentioned earlier, the flexibility delivered by SaaS is ideally suited to SMBs. Growing organizations profit from the ease of scalability that AP automation offers. Or, during positions of contraction, SMBs can avoid the overhead cost of underutilized FTEs. Whatever the future, cloud-based services allow SMBs to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. ++ Growing Importance of Analytics: Increased visibility into all invoices—and the attached control over cash flow—are increasingly important for businesses of all sizes, including SMBs. In a hypercompetitive global marketplace, successful businesses will have instant access to real-time visibility and make data-driven decisions based on accurate, timely reports. As far as an organization’s spending and expenses go, having an automated AP process is the fastest, most costeffective way to gain these actionable insights. ++ Rise of Mobile Technology: SMB executives have become more dependent on tablets and smartphones as omnipresent business tools. SaaS solutions, like AP automation, are easily accessed through any web browser or web-enabled device, enabling managers to review and approve invoices and expenses on-the-go and create powerful reports as needed, 24/7. ANYBILL.COM | INFO@ANYBILL.COM 2 1801 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 700 | Washington, DC 20006 | W 202-682-6300 | F 202-833-2141
  3. 3. FOR SMBS, THE CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING In summary, SMBs will find the incentives to adopt AP automation go far beyond the cost control and increased productivity to be realized in the short-term. Motivators should include a desire to improve the organization’s overall workflow, creating a leaner, more data-driven and transparent business. By adopting AP automation, the SMB converts resources dedicated to labor-intensive manual processing into strategic, mission-focused assets. Time and energy formerly invested in tracking, matching and filing invoices is reclaimed. The timeliness and accuracy gained through technology let SMBs capitalize on early-payment discounts. With regard to the organization’s AP function, size no longer dictates the sophistication of its tools. The playing field has been leveled. SMBs interested in winning the game in 2014 and beyond will gain quantifiable advantages through the adoption of AP automation. 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 Founded in 2001, Anybill provides end-to-end accounts payable automation for small to medium enterprises (SME), as well as some of the world’s largest corporations and institutions, encompassing a variety of industries. Anybill’s cloud-based platform automates the accounts payable process, from invoice receipt and data capture to approval and payment. It provides complete control and visibility over the entire AP process with clear approval authority and robust reporting functionality. The company is headquartered in Washington, DC, and is SSAE 16 SOC compliant. ANYBILL.COM | INFO@ANYBILL.COM 3 1801 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 700 | Washington, DC 20006 | W 202-682-6300 | F 202-833-2141

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