5 Things Your Team Can do With the Time They Save by Automating Accounts Payable

As manual, paper-based accounting processes become increasingly obsolete, many Accounts Payable (AP) departments are implementing finance automation to replace antiquated methods.

While there’s been a growing interest in AP automation over the past decade, the pandemic fueled the need for automation when manual processing became insufficient because of rapidly changing work environments. Now, the industry has reached its highest rates of adoption yet. For example, 59% of the industry currently uses electronic invoicing solutions, and 51% of the industry uses electronic B2B payment solutions1. More departments trust and rely on advanced technology to help them achieve their goals and objectives. Many plan to deploy finance automation of some capacity within the next one to two years.

According to controllers surveyed by the Institute of Finance Management, AP is the most time-consuming, laborious, and paper-intensive finance and administrative function. Approximately 84% of the typical AP practitioner’s day is wasted on manual, repetitive tasks2, like keying invoice data, pushing paper, fixing typos and other mistakes, chasing down information, and responding to calls and emails from suppliers and stakeholders about the status of invoices and payments. Many issues result from these manual tasks, including long invoice and payment approvals (57%), a high percentage of exceptions (45%), too much paper (28%), manual B2B payments (22%), and late supplier payments (20%)3

Paymerang’s Invoice and Payment Automation solutions streamline the accounting process from start to finish, eliminating the manual tasks that bog down finance departments. Partnering with a world-class finance automation provider gives finance departments extra time to focus on things that have been neglected while working to accomplish a growing list of responsibilities. Paymerang also offers an Invoice Automation platform that uses artificial intelligence to capture, read, and route invoices, giving our team a fail-safe electronic paper trail.

Here are 5 things you can do with the time save by automating AP:

1. Effectively manage and oversee cash flow

Automation enhances your AP department’s operations, and it’s nearly impossible to operate effectively without knowing how much cash is coming into your business. When companies fail for financial reasons, poor cash flow is to blame 82% of the time3. AP Automation makes managing and overseeing cash flow easier through real-time approvals, fewer errors, greater visibility, and the ability to review more analytics and data from configured reports. According to Forbes, data helps improve business efficiencies by better understanding customers, identifying and eliminating supply chain inefficiencies, and helping businesses make faster, smarter decisions4.

Finance automation enables your organization to categorize vendors to show management where money is being spent and develop metrics and benchmarks to monitor to track progress5.

2. Scale your business

AP Automation is crucial for a growing, thriving business. By improving invoice process times, increasing cash flow visibility, and improving vendor relationships, companies can operate more smoothly while increasing profitability.

Not only is scaling important for your business but partnering with a world-class automation provider is also necessary. Paymerang’s cloud-based platforms scale up as your business does. This ensures you are no longer paying for new software or extra resources to run that software.

By eliminating manual tasks and freeing up your team’s schedule, you can now redistribute clerical duties so that AP managers can focus on solving problems and making progress changes5 that will help your business grow successfully.

3. Focus on complex and high-value tasks

With extra time, finance leaders and practitioners can focus on strategic initiatives like increasing shareholder value, lowering production costs, or maintaining the current profit margins for a set amount of time6.

Additionally, team members can then focus on high-value tasks, tasks that move you toward your goals7. When determining which high-values tasks you should prioritize, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this activity bring me closer to finishing a major project or task?
  • How does this activity ultimately impact the bottom line of my business?
  • Does this activity bring me closer to accomplishing my goals?

Above all, automation allows you to update policy and procedure for all manual functions5, focusing on value-added steps now that manual responsibilities are lessened.

4. Staff retention and growth

The Great Resignation continues to be a challenge, with an estimated 4.53 million workers have quit their jobs as of March of this year8. Manual, paper-based processing adds to the stress that employees may already be feeling and can lead to burnout. AP staff experiencing burnout are more than twice as likely to leave their organization than those who say they are not burned out (24% versus 10%)9. Automating tedious tasks reduces employee burnout and turnover. Also, another benefit of automation is the cost reduction associated with employee turnover. Having the time and resources to create an employee-friendly and pleasant working atmosphere where employees enjoy working means employees are less likely to quit their jobs5.

5. Learning & Development

After finance leaders have mastered acquiring and retaining top workplace talent with the help of automation, it’s important help employees to continuing growing their careers with learning and development opportunities. A 2021 survey showed that 90% of 1,000 American workers consider strong training and upskilling programs an important feature of prospective employers10. Improving your company’s bottom line along with customer service and satisfaction are among the benefits of learning and development11.

In the unlikely scenario that staffing shortages remain a problem after implementing automation, you will have time to conduct cross-training that gives every employee more knowledge to fill those areas that remain understaffed5. Well-trained employees across multiple levels and departments make a valuable contribution to the company.

Paymerang’s holistic finance automation solutions empower your finance department by increasing efficiency, reducing your organization’s chances of fraud, and providing white-glove services when needed. Most of all, the time you save by automating empowers you by letting you focus on neglected priorities that you forgot because of an overloaded schedule.


Sources

1Ardent’s 2021 “The State of ePayables 2021: Operating in the New Normal

2Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM)

3Preferred CEO: Cash Flow: The Reason 82% of Small Businesses Fail

4Forbes: 3 Ways Data Is Helping to Improve Business Efficiencies

5ACom Solutions: 101 Ideas to improve every area of your Accounts Payable Department

6Indeed: Complete Guide to Setting Strategic Goals (With Examples)

7Medium: Focus on Your High Value Activities to Boost Your Bottom Line

8U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

9Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM), Great AP Places to Work

10Kaltura: 5 Reasons Why Learning and Development Is So Important for Organizations In 2022

11Inc.com: If Your Employees Aren’t Learning, You’re at Risk of Losing Them

Jaclyn Barton

Jaclyn Barton