Many business owners were left in the lurch when the pandemic began to wreak havoc across the world. Seemingly overnight, many employees were driven to work remotely – from the shelter of their own homes. Those in management positions were driven to take charge of their team’s helms from remote locations. Things had to change and they had to change fast if we were to contain the spread and destruction of this tiny virus called SARS-CoV-2. However, even though things got tough, many business owners were able to get through the storm and are still in business.
The economy now looks to be recovering globally, but it is no time to let one’s guard down. Now is the time to thoroughly evaluate your business and look for areas with opportunities for cost reduction and future growth. Doing so will help firms be prepared for future challenges that may arise and help them get past them.
One important area where firms can invest to improve agility is in accounts payable. Overhauling the AP function and equipping AP professionals with modern tools can help to make the business operations more agile. An accounts payable services company uses modern tools to make work easier and more efficient and productive, and leveraging these tools can future-proof a firm’s AP stance.
Below we look at some ways in which firms can increase their agility with accounting services.
1. Streamline invoice verification and validation.
Downtimes are an inevitable part of doing business for most firms. Given this, the cost of downtimes is staggering. Data suggests that a large percentage of downtimes is simply through human error. Automating the AP function is one area where downtimes can be reduced by partnering with an accounts payable services company. Although it may not completely eliminate downtimes, it can help to reduce their severity and impact.
Traditionally, accounts payable teams spent most of their accounting services time manually processing invoices. These team members would need to check things like whether each invoice had the correct PO number, the payment details were accurate, and if the vendor was in the system, among other things.
AP automation helps firms to streamline invoice creation and validation, ensuring that suppliers are always paid promptly. When this happens, downtimes can be reduced since the situation in which an AP supplier doesn’t get paid promptly drastically reduces.
2. Connect digitally with all suppliers
Nearly everyone that has an internet connection knows what modern digital experiences encompass thanks in large part to products and services like Amazon, Google, and online banks. There is also an expectation that these experiences should be available in our professional lives, and slowly but surely, they are seeping through.
When firms automate their AP function by partnering with an accounts payable services company, they can better meet their partners’ and employees’ expectations of what work should be and look like.
Also, with the right AP platform in place, firms can now directly and digitally connect with every supplier in their network. Each authorized team member can see all details of things like invoices at a glance, which is much more efficient and effective than calling or sending emails to suppliers.
3. Use automated accounting to maximize cash flow
Stretching every dollar as much as possible is important for firms that are trying to become more efficient, agile, and better placed to scale. This is where automating the AP function can help.
By gaining visibility into the status of every invoice, business owners can ensure that they’re identifying and making the most out of every early payment discount while they pay the rest of their bills on time. With the right AP automation solution, business owners can boost their cash flow significantly.
Today, more so than ever, remaining competitive required modern approaches to business processes. If your accounting function is still processing invoices in the ways it has for years, it can seriously derail your firm’s ability to compete in the modern world.
4. Deal with and remove the invoice exception loop
Some data suggest a majority of accounting teams find handling invoice exceptions the toughest part of their jobs. However, nearly 1 out of 4 invoices contain an exception that must be addressed. These exceptions could be a wrong PO number, wrong supplier information, or errors from the vendor’s OCR solution. Whatever the case, managing invoice exceptions is tedious and frustrating for AP professionals.
However, the good news is that it is possible to reduce the number of invoice exceptions significantly through accounting automation. Firms can automate a large chunk of the exception resolution workflow using AI and machine learning algorithms. When this becomes the case, the AP team’s job becomes much easier, and they can focus more of their energies on other critical tasks.
It is clear that automating the accounting function as much as possible can bring significant gains to companies looking to grow and thrive in the modern world. Staying ahead of the competition and implementing modern technologies can be the ticket to success when done professionally. So, enhance your firm’s agility by overhauling your legacy accounting functions to reflect modern, efficient processes.