February 21, 2013 Accounts Payable Automation – Little Crunchy Nuggets of Advice
AP Automation is much more than just imaging
An image is just that, an image. By itself you can’t do much with it other than look at it and store it. Add some indexed data from the image and now you have the additional pieces which can be used to really make automation work.
Service is key
Having gone to a university with 30,000+ students and also experienced schools with smaller student bodies, the big difference is a much more direct and personal experience. With large ERP providers the solutions are either ‘as-is out of the box’ or they can be modified but at considerable expense. The smaller players provide the same if not more functionality but with a greater level of service, customization and are generally much more accommodating to your special requests.
Invoices – Many roads lead to automation
So just how do invoices get to you? That is one of the great areas of flexibility that AP automation can afford your company. Suppliers can do any of the following:
- Create and submit invoices online
- Submit a file of invoices online or via FTP
- Submit files via EDI
- Send invoices via FAX, Email or Paper to an email, FAX, PO Box or your current address
- You as the customer can also enter the invoices as needed. (I personally would do this one last and only once in a while, if the supplier was really nice.)
This is just the first part, the on-ramp of automation. Once you have the invoice electronic all of the other benefits follow.
Workflow – keep it simple
Just like picking out a movie for 100+ people, you can’t make everyone totally happy, so you need to identify your key, critical path processes as the core of your workflow. Then exceptions can be added as are truly needed, but keep these under control.
Supplier Adoption – Incentives and a little nudge
Suppliers are smart and are looking for opportunities to improve their business. AP Automation is a win-win for both customer and suppliers. At times all that is needed for suppliers is a little nudge from their customers and possibly a reminder of the benefits they will receive.