Every automation company worth its salt will have published a white paper giving numerous reasons why you should automate your back office.
These white papers are great, they are designed to give you a better understanding of what to look for when you choose to automate. Often they are designed to guide you with key steps to make your back office functions more efficient.
In most cases, if the information is followed correctly, you will very likely see your back office turn from a cost centre to a profit centre, or at least break even.
But virtually every single “Reasons to Automate” white paper delivers the same information just in different words, the first and most common reason (more often than not) is improving organisational efficiency.
If you are looking at Accounts Payable or Finance, this includes error reduction, through-put rate, earlier payments etc. etc. All basic functions that any Accounts Payable solution should improve.
Simple, automation is just cheaper!
Another reason that regularly features, is cost reduction.
Newer technology, cloud-based solutions hosted for you, no filing, no storage, competitive advantage, processing time, increased security, improved customer relations, cash allocation… The list could go on and on
At the end of the day, what everything really comes down to is cost effectiveness.
Business’ always have their mind on the money and how can they spend less and make more. So, one would assume, that saving money would be the most important benefit for most organisations.
Surely this is as simple as finding the cheapest Accounts Payable solution that will do “a job” and bobs your uncle. Your automated.
So is money the most important thing when it comes to accounts payable automation?
Actually, when you really start considering what drives a business, one of the most important things is actually data, or information. It’s so important the EU has very recently changed the laws governing collection, storing etc. of personal data.
You will all have heard about GDPR, and it will have impacted on all of your lives one way or another. Even this is just as simple as websites now asking permission for yours.
Companies want data.
So maybe, the most important thing about Accounts Payable automation software isn’t how it can save you money but how much insight it gives.
The better you understand your data the better you understand your business, the power to be able to pin point weakness and build strength, this applies to Finance as much as anywhere it does to your Marketing function.
So how does data help Accounts Payable?
With the best accounts payable analytics, you will be able to pin pint weakness by averting overpayments, reducing the number of overdue invoices and being able seek out the causes of failing invoices.
You can determine which company invoices your having the most trouble with, allowing you to make the decision to fix the problem with your current supplier or move on to a better.
Using analytics, you can get a better control of cash management, with the ability to estimate your cash flow, meaning you won’t need a massive supply of cash sitting in the bank just for payments.
Analytics will also give you more insight in to the more basic functions of Accounts Payable, allowing you to track key performance indicators ensuring your team are delivering effectively.
Using these tools, you can better improve the productivity of the Finance function, you will be able to work out the average processing rate of your account clerks, work out trends on time management and resource impact from any particular invoices or supplier.
With a click of a button you should be able to determine which invoices are being paid, how often they are being paid and when they are paid.
These are just a few examples of the endless possibilities, and benefits, you can realise when using your data to drive efficiency’s
So, when looking at Accounts Payable solution perhaps it’s not the cost savings up front, it’s the continual improvement over time that should be the focus.
It’s being able to use the right data to make the right decisions that lead to even more efficient choices.
So, what is more important for a company, Data or Money?
Well… The chances are… It’s money. After all, you’re a business you must make profit! But, just maybe, data is how you get there…