Thought Leaders: What Was Your Company’s Biggest AP Problem, How Did You Solve It?
What are the biggest challenges facing companies today when it comes to accounts payable management? We spoke with leaders in a variety of fields to talk about what they identified as their biggest AP problem, and the steps their organization took to resolve the issue.
Completing Transactions Less Than $100
Problem: Our company’s biggest accounts payable problem was completing transactions less than $100. We had hundreds of them per month that required a significant amount of attention and effort. Quantity and volume was always an issue. In our business, we prioritized the larger accounts first. As I am sure many could understand, another business that is waiting for a $25,000 cheque should have priority over something of far lesser value.
Solution: What we ended up doing was to automate many of those AP processes from small amounts. Many of these small transactions were on a scheduled basis with very trustworthy clients and business partners. We decided that automation was the best solution to dealing with the plethora of transactions. We now take a managerial and oversight position to ensure all transactions were completed in a proper fashion.
– Pierre-Renaud Tremblay, CFO and a Co-Owner, Dupray
Errors in Manual Reporting
Problem: One of the biggest problems associated with Accounts Payable stems from manual methods of reporting. Notably, manual entry is prone to human error, and usually requires duplicating efforts; first with gathering invoices and recording transactions, and then with inputting them into an accounting system or having to manually complete bank transfers. This results in an inefficient and time-consuming process.
Solution: With recent market trends shifting towards devoted AP software, there are huge opportunities for speeding up the AP process and making it more reliable. With both cloud accounting or specific AP solutions, features like invoice management and matching, order approval, cost tracking, bank integration and global payment processing can not only be automated, but centralized in one location. This automation and centralization creates a repository from where you can track all payments coming in and out, reconcile statements, and get analytics on spending, giving a much better overarching view of accounts payable and creating a much more efficient process.
– Suzie Blaszkiewicz, Accounts Payable Researcher & Project Manager, GetApp
Streamlining AP Approvals Process
Problem: With multiple offices and many approvers, the process of chasing AP approvals was cumbersome for us and often included mailing and forwarding physical invoices between office locations.
Solution: To make this process more efficient, we implemented an Invoice-to-Pay solution. This enabled us to eliminate the time we were spending collecting paper, tracking down approvals and processing checks, as everything is now handled electronically. It has also eased the challenges of our geographically dispersed workforce, and improved visibility into our invoice-to-pay process for everyone involved.
One of the major benefits of our new solution is the ability to approve invoices and payments on-the-go from any device. Another bonus is the ability to generate payment reports and search for specific invoices and payment history in one place, providing greater visibility. This helps to eliminate missed or late payments and easily resolves any discrepancies.
All in all, this has enabled us to cut the time we spend on processing invoices and executing payments in half. We also love that we no longer have to sort through filing cabinets or email approvals for long-lost invoices.
– Judy Dillenbeck, Senior Accountant, Positive Coaching Alliance