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5 Things Your AP Team Didn’t Sign Up For

December 3, 2018BY John Kearns

If Undercover Boss shows us anything it’s that business leaders aren’t always aware of the day-to-day frustrations that distract their employees.
Accounting and finance teams are no exception, as they often experience a steady onslaught of micro-hassles that keep them from doing what they were trained to: helping your company save money and grow. 

Your accounts payable processes, however, keep forcing them to do things they never signed up for, which impacts you as the financial leader.

Here are the top five things AP isn’t telling you. 

1. “I didn’t sign up for tedium.”
If your finance team is working with a manual invoicing process driven by endless back-and-forth e-mails or paper – like those used in most small and midsize businesses – they spend all day opening invoices and coding them into a system. It’s not strategic, value-added, proactive, or fun for them. And it’s certainly not cost-efficient for you.

2. “I didn’t sign up to be overwhelmed.”
Most small and midsize business have two to four accounts payable professionals who process hundreds, if not thousands, of paper-based invoices per month. If that’s your business, your team is likely bogged down by snail mail, fax, and e-mail invoicing.

3. “I didn’t sign up to be stuck between a rock and a hard place.” 
The AP team knows the system is broken, but they don’t have the authority to fix it. They don’t have control over processes or the power to enforce policies. And to rub salt in the wound, they’re often made the scapegoat for invoice-related problems. You, however, have the power to change that. You can make sure that, instead of getting fingers pointed their way, the AP teams gets the thumbs up it deserves. 

4. “I didn’t sign up to be ignored.”
AP professionals feel like they’re always being communicated at, not communicated with. And the pace of work, the clunky processes, and the company’s desire to grow always knocks them back on their heels, forcing them to be reactive instead of proactive. Remind them you’re all in this together and that they can help you assess the current situation to determine a solution.

5. “I didn’t sign up to work weekends.”
But they’re pros. So they sit around the campfire approving invoices on family camping trips. But no one should have to. Your AP processes shouldn’t make your team feel like a clean-up crew.

Your path out of the madness
The situation stinks. There’s no sugarcoating it. 
But it’s not just your business. Manual invoicing is creating widespread industry problems, like difficulty tracking spending, incomplete documentation, late reporting, duplicate data, lack of visibility into cash flow, slow approval times, and lots more. 

There is a way out, however: automation. 

Invoice automation significantly cuts invoice-processing time – time your team can use to instead analyze spending trends and find cost-saving opportunities. Automation also directly affects the bottom line, saving companies tens of thousands of dollars each year. And automation gives AP teams better visibility into company cash flow, allowing them to be more strategic about financial management. 

So tell your AP team you have their back and that you’re working on a solution that will let them be strategic partners to the finance leaders. 
It’s what they signed up for.

See where automation can get you – download How Finance Leaders Save Money and Drive Growth with Automated Invoicing, our guide produced in partnership with AMI-Partners.

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