Why CFOs Must Automate Accounts Payable in 2024

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If your AP department is like most others, you spend countless hours on manual, repetitive tasks that are prone to errors, delay, and risk. On top of that, you must manage lots of invoice exceptions, which require manual intervention and specialized skills to resolve.

From keying invoice and payment data and chasing down approvals to shuffling paper and emails and printing and mailing paper checks, the demands of manual and semi-automated into-to-pay processes take up valuable time and resources that your AP department probably doesn't have.

There's No Better Time to Automate Then Now

The combination of rising interest rates, sky-high inflation, unpredictable global supply chains, a challenging labor market, and an uncertain economy are creating stiff headwinds for finance pros. In times like these, organizations must find ways to save time and money, liberate working capital, enhance visibility into financial information, improve their supplier relationships, and mitigate risk.

That's where invoice-to-pay automation comes in to play. By automating the invoice-to-pay process, organizations of all sizes can:

  1. Enhance Visibility
  2. Lower Costs
  3. Mitigate Payments Fraud

Convincing Management to Automate

  1. Reduced Overhead: Invoice-to-pay solutions significantly reduce the cost of processing and paying supplier invoices. Invoice header and line-item data is captured without the need for manual keying. Invoice data is matched automatically with purchase order and delivery information. Matched invoices are posted directly to an ERP or accounting software package without human operator intervention. Payment data is reconciled in real-time reducing AP departments cost by 60 percent after deploying an invoice-to-pay solution.
  2. More Opportunities to Capture Early-Payment Discounts: Studies show 80 percent of suppliers are willing to exchange discounts on the amount due on an invoice in exchange for early payment. The earlier the payment, the larger the discount. Unfortunately it takes so long for AP departments that operate in a manual environment to approve invoices that discounts for early payments. Every step in a manual invoice approval process takes too long causing AP departments to leave money on the table due to slow invoice approval cycle times.  
  3. Better Working Capital Management: Invoice-to-pay solutions provide management with critical insights into cash flows, corporate spending, and operations performance. Advanced solutions empower management with real-time access to invoice and payment data, making them agile in their financial decision-making. 

Reducing overhead, lowering the cost of goods, improving working capital management, and finding money to reinvest in the business are different types of instances that are addressed by automated invoice-to-pay solutions.

Overcoming Objections to Automation

There are six common excuses that payables departments give for dragging their feet on invoice-to-pay automation. Below are the reasons that those arguments don't hold water.

  1. Paying suppliers with checks works
  2. We like the control that checks provide
  3. Our staff is reluctant to learn a new system
  4. We can't afford to deploy an invoice-to-pay solution
  5. We don't have the resources to deploy an invoice-to-pay solution
  6. We are too small to automate

Continue reading the white paper on creating an action plan for invoice-to-pay automation here.

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