It is time to move the accounts payable (AP), from the “back-office” to the forefront of your organization’s automation strategy.
Many businesses view the accounts payable department (APD) as a back-office role. Although the work of the department is important, businesses often overlook AP processes as a key component to their overall success. Businesses are more aware of the importance of these processes today, and the potential friction they can cause, due to the speed and volume of digital business.
It is important to keep up-to-date with the latest trends in accounts payable automation to help your business adapt and grow. These topics will bring you up-to-date.
Highlighting Major Trends in Accounts Payable
Businesses have a new opportunity to invest in their future stability and success after a year that saw almost everything change in the way they do business. Many companies recognize the intrinsic value of innovative solutions and are increasing their demand for AP automation.
There are six main trends in automation of accounts payables that you should be aware of.
AI makes AP smarter
Software that incorporates machine learning and artificial Intelligence (AI) is gaining the most popularity among organizations. AI is often used to answer the question “How do automated accounts payable work?” Processes such as cognitive capture automatically classify scanned invoices, extract relevant financial data, and save time.
Accounting Software is now available in English
AP has been traditionally the domain of many manual processes that are too numerous to count. These processes were useful 10-20 years ago, when they made sense. But today, they are not. Advanced invoice software makes it simpler to perform complex tasks like matching two, three, and four ways with greater reliability. Smart software makes it easier to spot and correct errors.
Data Analytics and Forecasting Tools Offer Vital Intelligence
Consider how many data points your department generates. It’s not just about the money you owe a vendor. AP can have significant downstream effects on cash flow, company liabilities and spending habits. This information can be repurposed and used by other departments to create important business forecasts. This data can be difficult to reach, but AP automation solutions make it possible with just seconds to generate reports.
Digital Transformation continues
Global disruptions in business and the way we work in 2020 will have long-lasting effects. One of these effects is the sudden attention given to automation by many C-suite executives.]
The potential impact on business continuity is magnified when manual AP processes become encumbered by pandemic-related bottlenecks. Leaders are now more open to the fundamental changes associated with automation. This has led to a greater demand for modern AP automation software.
Online Collaboration and Remote Empowerment
The normalised trend towards remote work makes automation a crucial helper. Some businesses choose to return to the office while others prefer to work remotely. Paper-based processes–especially those related to invoice approvals, check signing and payment–have been exposed as fundamentally flawed in the 21st century. To reduce processing times, automation solutions will include more friction less online collaboration.
Data Security is a Priority
Every few weeks there seems to be another story about major malware infections. Automation solutions are great for speeding up payment processing but they also need to protect and preserve the privacy of data they handle. In the future, we will be focusing more on how AI tools can protect information.
Each trend ties back to a simple truth: the old way of doing business can’t keep pace with modern business’s high volume and rapid-fire demands. By adapting to better technology, we can move ahead.
You can discover the potential of solutions like automated invoicing through Peakflow. It is easier and quicker than you might think.
Trends Forecasting for Planning
Let’s concentrate on one trend: Forecasting. How can a company make the most of these tools while planning for the future? These forecasts are a key part of your planning and can help you reduce risk as well as increase opportunities to realize additional value.
Rolling Forecasts and Budgets are Key
It can be hard to predict the ebbs or flows of business. But if you have access to historical data and current information, it becomes simple to make rolling forecasts. The AP can provide valuable insight for the entire business. With a clear view on the company’s spending patterns, rolling forecasts can make budgeting easier.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Modern AP teams face data siloing. It is crucial to ensure communication is open. To reduce your cycle time, it is crucial to ensure that information flows between AP and other departments such as purchasing or receiving. Automation allows you to eliminate silos so that the correct information reaches the right people with the least delay possible.
It’s a Team Sport
This entire process can’t be handled by one person. Collaboration is much easier with tools that simplify the process. This makes it easy to share answers and resolve exceptions. This results in happier vendors and faster payments.
Plan for Various Scenarios
How will your company react to a sudden shortage of critical suppliers or an increase in demand that causes prices to rise? Although answering these questions can be difficult, better informational analysis makes contingency planning easier. AP automation can help with risk management.