[Webinar] Making the Strategic Shift Away from Paper


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Mary Schaeffer, Editor of AP Now and Tomorrow, presented—Accounts Payable Today - How to Make the Strategic Shift Away from Paper.

Invoice automation is a good news/bad news story. The bad news is that despite all the talk, the accounts payable function remains largely paper-based in most organizations. The good news is that is starting to change. Unlike a few years ago, today almost every organization receives some of its invoices electronically, even if their processes aren’t automated at all. This is a good first step. But there’s a long way to go. That’s why we’ve created this special event to provide you with the information you need to make the strategic shift at your organization. Mary Schaeffer, AP Now’s Publisher and Editorial Director discussed:

The automation evolution in accounts payable
The benefits of automation
Doing a cost benefit analysis to justify the shift
How you can get started making the shift

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[Webinar] Making the Strategic Shift Away from Paper

  1. 1. Accounts Payable Today: Making The Strategic Shift away from PaperMary SchaefferPublisher & Editorial Director AP NowAuthor Controller & CFO’s Guide to AccountsPayable + 15 other business books
  2. 2. Agenda  Background: Setting the Stage  Strategic Shift: Payments  Strategic Shift: Processing  Strategic Shift: Personnel + Careers  Closing thoughts © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and2 Mary S. Schaeffer
  3. 3. Setting the Stage © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and3 Mary S. Schaeffer
  4. 4. Business World is in a State of Flux  Brick and mortar to web based  Publications and advertising moving from print to online  Computers, software  Mainframe, networked PCs  Outright purchase of software SaaS  Cloud based applications © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and4 Mary S. Schaeffer
  5. 5. Accounts Payable Is Part of that Transition Three Stages:  Moving away from paper checks to electronic and p- card payments  Moving away from paper invoices to an automated processing  Moving away from transactional to analytical staff © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and5 Mary S. Schaeffer
  6. 6. Functionality: Part of the Bigger Picture  Not an island  Must integrate into the bigger Picture  Purchasing  Tax  Accounting  Treasury  Audit  Take a customer service attitude © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and6 Mary S. Schaeffer
  7. 7. The Other Big Change The ugly reality of:  Ruthless cost cutting  Expense reduction  Headcount scrutiny © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and7 Mary S. Schaeffer
  8. 8. Strategic Shift: Payments © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and8 Mary S. Schaeffer
  9. 9. One of the Biggest Headaches in Accounts Payable The Paper Check. It is:  Expensive  People intensive  UP issues  A Problem creator © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and9 Mary S. Schaeffer
  10. 10. Alternatives to the Paper Check Nightmare  P-cards  ACH (electronic payments) © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and10 Mary S. Schaeffer
  11. 11. Challenges with the Payment Shift  Supplying the remittance data  Cash application on the part of the vendor  Controls when ACH payments made outside AP © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and11 Mary S. Schaeffer
  12. 12. Strategic Shift: Processing © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and12 Mary S. Schaeffer
  13. 13. Root Cause of Headache on the Processing Side Invoice Processing © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and13 Mary S. Schaeffer
  14. 14. A Few of the Problems  People Intensive … expensive  Human keying errors  Invoices lost in the mail (really)  Invoices addressed to no one  Invoices floating around the company © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and14 Mary S. Schaeffer
  15. 15. And More Problems  The storage issue  Lost early payment discounts  Late fees  The he-said-she-said approval problem © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and15 Mary S. Schaeffer
  16. 16. Result of These Problems Manual invoices processing is:  Expensive  Error prone  Introduces delays as errors create additional disputes which must be resolved © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and16 Mary S. Schaeffer
  17. 17. What to Do??? Solution: Automate  Where do you get started  But what about the expense?  What about the staff? © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and17 Mary S. Schaeffer
  18. 18. Dipping Your Feet into the e-Waters  Accepting invoices by email  Accepting invoices by e-fax  Sending remittance information for ACH by email  Online T&E © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and18 Mary S. Schaeffer
  19. 19. What about the Cost?  No huge up-front investments  Money  Manpower  Time  Pay as you go (SaaS) © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and19 Mary S. Schaeffer
  20. 20. Where Do The Savings Come From? The obvious  Reduced processing costs  Fewer people processing invoices  Lower storage costs for hard documents Not so Obvious • Fewer duplicate and erroneous payments • Fewer errors • Easier access to information • Less time with Auditors © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and20 Mary S. Schaeffer
  21. 21. Can We Talk about the Cowboys/gals?  Visibility into maverick spend  Purchases at vendors who are not on the preferred vendor list  Sometimes indicates possible fraud  Sometimes just got a better price  Items that shouldn’t have been purchased in the first place – or by the person who did the purchasing  Best example: computer/technology purchases not made by IT  Dollar amount above approval levels  Can slip through in a manual process © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and21 Mary S. Schaeffer
  22. 22. Approvals Time  Legitimate Delays  Mail Time (Post office)  Interoffice mail time  If scanning, scanning delays  Vacation/unplanned absences  Unreasonable Delays  Approver has more important things to do  Approver doesn’t like reviewing invoices © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and22 Mary S. Schaeffer
  23. 23. The Other Big Fight: Who Gets the Invoice First  Did we get the invoice yet?  First question on those ‘Where’s My Money Calls’  Accounts Payable or Purchasing???  Home office or the field?  Should AP be centralized or decentralized?  With an automated solution, everyone has visibility into the data so it almost doesn’t matter © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and23 Mary S. Schaeffer
  24. 24. Automatic Escalations • Approval time preset – say five days • If no action taken, invoice ‘escalated’ to the next level • If no action taken after agreed amount of time, say five days, escalated to the next level. © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and24 Mary S. Schaeffer
  25. 25. Big Benefit Strategic – Accounts Payable automation frees you and your staff from mundane tasks, giving you more time to focus on your business. © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and25 Mary S. Schaeffer
  26. 26. Strategic Shift: Personnel + Careers © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and26 Mary S. Schaeffer
  27. 27. The Elephant in the Room Issue  What about the staff who used to process invoices?  Will different skillsets be required after automation?  What can I do to get ready? © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and27 Mary S. Schaeffer
  28. 28. The Staff  Yes – fewer will be needed to handle invoice issues  Dispute resolution will become more important  Retrain to handle other value added tasks including:  Master Vendor file cleanup  Statement reviews for open credits  In-house duplicate payment recovery  Improved Regulatory compliance  The IRS  States © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and28 Mary S. Schaeffer
  29. 29. Staff  Not necessarily about headcount reduction  About creating a more effective AP function  Regulatory compliant  Fraud resistant  Staff can work on those back-burned projects  If they have the needed skills  AP can take on additional responsibilities © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and29 Mary S. Schaeffer
  30. 30. Skills Needed in an Automated AP World  Analytical rather than transactional  Dispute resolution  Good customer service  Knowledge Regulatory issues: 1099, 1042, Sales & Use Tax, Unclaimed Property, Worker Classification etc.  Accounting (not just AP issues) and GL  Purchasing, Treasury  Writing, public speaking (PowerPoint)  Excel, Access, Pivot Tables © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and30 Mary S. Schaeffer
  31. 31. AP: Yesterday vs. Tomorrow © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and31 Mary S. Schaeffer
  32. 32. The AP Function of the Future  Changing  New skills will be needed if you wish to be a strategic part of this shift  Your Challenge:  Keeping up  Making sure you are ready © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and32 Mary S. Schaeffer
  33. 33. Thank you/Questions Questions always welcome. To share your thoughts and insights Mary Schaeffer  marys@ap-now.com  302 836 0540  Sign up for our free weekly ezine at www.ap-now.com/ezinesignup.html © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and33 Mary S. Schaeffer
  34. 34. About Mary Schaeffer  Mary Schaeffer is a nationally recognized accounts payable expert. Following a career in finance she turned to writing and consulting. For the last 15 years she has been researching and writing newsletters for the accounts payable profession. Currently she is the Editorial Director & Publisher of Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow, (www.ap- now.com) a fee-based newsletter published by CRYSTALLUS, Inc.  She also handles most of the firms consulting assignments (focused primarily on AP issues) often working with other well-regarded professionals. Her blog, at http://ap- now.com/blog/ is read by over 15,000 professionals each month.  Ms. Schaeffer is the author of over 15 business books including The CFO and Controllers’ Guide to Accounts Payable and the recently published Fraud in Accounts Payable: How to Prevent It. John Wiley & Sons is the publisher of most of her books.  She also is a regular contributor to the AICPA’s Corporate Finance Insider.  Ms. Schaeffer has a BS in Math from York College (CUNY) and a MBA in Finance from New York University.  She can be reached at marys@ap-now.com © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and34 Mary S. Schaeffer
  35. 35. Let Go and Gain Control Visit www.anybill.com/ today! © 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and35 Mary S. Schaeffer