Despite significant advances in technology in the last few years, many AP departments are still processing invoices manually. Even when invoices are received electronically many AP departments are still printing a paper copy. So why are so many AP departments continuing to use paper instead of technology? Here are a few reasons:
Lack of cost justification – Most AP departments don’t know how much it costs to process an invoice making it difficult to determine if investing in AP automation is justifiable. Executives often don’t see the value in spending money on a process that appears to be working fine.
Resistance to change – Most people are comfortable with their current processes and fear the unknown. AP automation can be a huge change that results in the entire process being overhauled. This is one of the main reasons so many AP departments are still processing paper invoices.
Supplier co-operation – There are still many suppliers that do not provide e-invoicing and the ones that do might not be in the format you require. It then becomes easier to print each invoice and process them all manually.
It’s too complicated – There are many moving parts in AP automation and making them move together smoothly can be challenging. It also requires collaboration between many departments – AP, management, IT, and often purchasing must work together. Getting all of these departments on board and aligning all of the moving parts can be daunting.
Overcoming these barriers
We recommend introducing AP automation to one or two processes at a time. This will help spread out the cost of implementation and will lessen the impact of change on the AP staff. Many of our clients see a significant impact by automating the indexing step. It immediately decreases the labour intensive data entry process, reduces errors, and shortens processing times. Plus, our customer are seeing a return on investment in 12 months or less!
Trying to convince all of your suppliers to provide e-invoices in a specific format is an endless battle and isn’t necessary in order to automate your process. Scanning the invoices in-house, or using mailroom services, will bypass the need for supplier cooperation.
Encouraging relevant departments and staff to be part of the process will make them less resistant to change. Collaborate to develop a plan on how to achieve your AP automation goals and assign specific tasks to the relevant departments or staff members. This will help lighten the workload as well as create an inclusive process that will face less resistance.
Still need help?
Partnering with an experienced third party, such as Polar Imaging can help overcome a lot of the common barriers listed above. What is new for your AP department is our speciality and we have experience identifying and resolving potential issues before they become problematic.
Are you ready for change? Contact us today. We will go through your current AP process step by step to determine where AP automation will provide the most value.