By Ernie Humphrey, CTP
The global pandemic has forced companies to process accounts payable in a remote environment. Not all companies were sufficiently prepared for this. Some companies had business continuity plans, but most were designed for a shorter period with manual interventions. Many had no plan at all.
Companies with manual and paper-based AP processes were most at-risk of massive delays, inefficiencies, fraud, and not being able to pay suppliers. Even if they had a secure P2P process before COVID-19, the inability to access specific programs and technology from outside of the organization’s IT infrastructure forced them to use manual workarounds, exposing their company to additional risks, as depicted in Figure 1 below.
The Next Normal has arrived. Companies can’t afford to try and “ride out” working in a remote environment as this will not be the last time companies need to deliver business as usual remotely. Now is the time for businesses to minimize data entry and manual workflows to establish a practical, digital P2P foundation that can provide both the agility and remote control businesses need in their AP process.
The right AP automation solution can help companies improve or maintain the level of control they had over their P2P process in the world before COVID-19 and benefit from advanced technology to make better business decisions.
To fight fire with fire, ensure your AP automation solution addresses these critical capabilities:
- Collaborative technology to simplify communications around invoices will make it easier to work across departments or time zones with internal approvers or external suppliers.
- Online accessibility to make it easy for AP, approvers, management, or suppliers to connect from anywhere.
- Visibility tools to see the entire P2P process, including invoice activities, statuses, and ownership, will provide greater transparency and accountability.
- Intelligence that learns your suppliers and accounting processes, as well as you, for faster and accurate coding and approval workflows.
- Diligence to enforce internal controls, proactively mitigate fraud risk and compliance with clear audit trails and segregation of duties.
Modern AP automation is now essential, not optional. To learn more about how to establish remote control in AP at your company, watch our on-demand webinar Delivering AP Success & Remote Control in the Next Normal.