Staffing Challenges in AP: How Automation Can Help
Managing operational changes in your finance department takes a lot of work. Sadly, there will always be a time when your team is short on manpower, whether someone is retiring, taking a much-needed vacation, or leaving for another job.
Planning for these situations is crucial for your organization to succeed. However, it can be challenging if you’re short on time and resources. Labor-intensive invoice and payment processes are overwhelming Accounts Payable (AP) departments nationwide. To illustrate, 84% of an AP Specialist’s day is spent on manual tasks such as keying invoice data, pushing paper, fixing typos, chasing down information, and responding to calls and emails about the status of supplier invoices and payments1.
To ease the brunt, AP departments are automating the accounting process from start to finish. AP Automation uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to streamline and automate the repetitive and time-consuming tasks that bog finance teams down, saving them thousands of hours annually.
With AP Automation in place, your finance team can better overcome the unexpected. Here are 4 ways that automation helps you build a more robust AP department during staffing challenges:
1. Increase Efficiency:
On average, it takes an estimated 10 days to manually process one paper invoice2. Invoice Automation drives efficiency by eliminating manual invoice coding and data entry while speeding up approval times. This saves users around 80% of the time on invoice processing.
Payment Automation uses electronic workflows to eliminate check printing and email stuffing. Additionally, best-in-class providers become an extension of your AP team, reducing your time on vendor payment inquiries, reconciliation, and ongoing follow-up. With Payment Automation implemented, 90% of your steps in paying vendors are eliminated, saving an estimated 80% of time on payment processing.
2. Greater Security:
Fraudsters are getting more devious in their attempts. In 2021, 71% of organizations reported they were targets of payments fraud activity3. Even if you are low on staff or resources, AP Automation can help you mitigate fraud in 3 major ways:
- Eliminates Paper Checks
- Paper checks are a triple threat, but not in a positive way. They are costly, time-consuming, and, worst of all, highly susceptible to fraud. Paper checks contain vulnerable banking information that fraudsters can easily intercept and forge. An electronic payment solution is a practical solution to lowering your organization’s fraud risk because it eliminates paper checks. In 2021, 66% of companies paying by check experienced real or attempted fraud, compared to only 3% when paying with single-use virtual cards4.
- Centralizes all AP Activity
- Centralizing the Accounts Payable process has many benefits, including enhanced security. Automation centralizes all AP activity by allowing you and your team members to access AP from anywhere in one designated online portal. Not only does it mean quicker invoice processing, but it ensures no one loses a paper check or documents with important information.
- Builds Controls into the AP Process:
- Segregation of Duties:
- Fraud is more prevalent when one person does all the work in the procure-to-pay process. Segregating duties ensures that the process is more secure by adding security checkpoints throughout the cycle.
- Positive Pay:
- Users who partner with leading Payment Automation providers because vendor payments paid by check are made using Positive Pay, a cash-management service that matches the accounting number, check number, and dollar amount of each check cashed.
- Segregation of Duties:
3. Greater Visibility:
Automated invoice processing solutions give designated users instant access to invoices and their approval status. Real-time data insights and greater visibility help you easier manage cash flow, no matter what changes are happening in your AP department.
4. More Fulfilled Employees:
The pandemic fueled employee burnout. Severe staffing shortages and heavy turnover continue to impact AP teams today. The manual workload required of AP Specialists makes it more difficult to attract and retain top talent after someone retires or leaves. AP Automation empowers employees to focus on high-value and engaging tasks, leaving them more satisfied with their job.
Building a more robust finance department for long-term success starts with embracing digitization like AP Automation. Streamlining traditional accounting processes set you and your team up for success, no matter what changes occur. Leading AP Automation solutions seamlessly integrate with your existing ERP system, making it easy to come out ahead even when you are low on resources.
To learn more about Paymerang’s award winning AP Automation, schedule a demo now.
1Institue of Finance and Management (IOFM)
2Ardent Partners’ Accounts Payable Metrics that Matter in 2021
3The Association for Finance Professionals
4The Association for Finance Professionals