How to improve your business’s accounts payable process

For those who don’t work within the finance team, you might not be fully aware of what your business’s accounts payable (AP) even are. In short, these are the short-term financial obligations you owe to suppliers and creditors. They’re an essential part of your balance sheet, which is why ensuring that you have the most efficient AP process in place is crucial.

And yet, a high number of businesses are still relying on manual processing and even paper invoices. This could be holding back your finance team, who need to spend much of their time dealing with manual data entry and tracking down physical pieces of paper for auditing.

That’s why any modern business needs to implement technological solutions that can support their team, such as accounts payable software. By utilizing automation to assist your finance team you could see some major benefits, from increased productivity and improved process visibility, to cost savings.

Embrace the role of automation

The single biggest improvement you can make to your accounts payable process is to incorporate automation. Switching over to the use of AP automation software will transform the way your finance team works, improving their efficiency and easing their workloads.

Manual elements of the accounts payable process such as data entry and handling paper invoices cost your team time. It takes far longer to deal with converting paper invoices into useable data and managing a variety of systems is far from the most efficient use of a team member’s time.

Not only do repetitive, mundane tasks cost time, but they also increase the risk of boredom and burnout within the department. That’s why implementing automation into your workflows will translate into such strong improvements.

Being able to hand over most of the day-to-day busy work of accounts payable over to automation frees up your staff to pursue more engaging tasks that are a better use of their expertise. Rather than being bogged down with simple, but essential tasks, the team are empowered to develop their roles and engage with fresh opportunities for the business.

Saving both time and money, automation can deal with simple data entry, invoice processing and approvals routing tasks. This is a far more efficient way to tackle your accounts payable processes.

Integrate systems and processes

Finance can appear complicated from the outside looking in. However, an easy barrier to remove is the separation of data into disparate systems, locations, and spreadsheets. Bringing data together into one centralized platform is integral to properly managing your business’s finances.

Problems and mistakes are far more likely to arise if stakeholders don’t have an accurate overview of the involved systems and data. But as AP automation software seamlessly integrates with other key systems, such as your accounting software and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, this eliminates that risk.

With properly integrated systems and workflows your team will always have a complete picture of what’s going on within the accounts payable process. This will significantly reduce the odds of potential bottlenecks or payment delays, helping your business make sure that invoices are paid on or ahead of schedule.

As many AP software solutions also include advanced analytics tools this will also empower your business to make truly data-driven decisions, drawing on up-to-date information.

It might not always be treated as one of the most important elements of your business, but a smoothly run accounts payable process is integral to a healthy business outlook and future growth opportunities.

Don’t get left behind in the competitive digital world, embrace the possibilities of AP automation software and see the improvements for yourself.

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