Make Faster, Better Informed Decisions, Even When AP Works from Home
As Work from Home continues, AP departments must figure out how to gain speed. Accounts payable automation can make this happen. Is your department ready?
Speed in AP departments takes a hit with remote work. It is taking longer to process invoices with employees working from home.
One-third of accounts payable professionals are working longer days, according to the results of a poll conducted during a virtual town hall meeting held by the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM). In fact, eight percent of accounts payable professionals are working an additional two hours per day.
While longer hours may be unavoidable as departments adapt to remote working arrangements, accounts payable and other finance and accounting functions should strive to work faster.
That is according to new research from McKinsey.
The overriding goal of senior executives is to increase the speed at which they adjust strategic direction, make and implement tactical decisions, and deploy resources, McKinsey says.
Speed is a bigger concern to senior executives than hot-button objectives, such as reducing operational costs, increasing productivity, and engaging more effectively with customers.
Why the fixation with speed?
For starters, fast organizations outperform their competitors by various measures.
But swift decision-making is also necessary as businesses navigate a volatile economy, fast-changing market conditions, industries disrupted by the new reality, and global pressures.
Despite the importance of speed, antiquated approaches to accounts payable make it hard to come by.
Many accounts payable departments rely on spreadsheets for financial reporting. Some lean heavily on their IT departments to program reports generated by the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) application. Others require staff to manually piece together data from multiple systems.
Making matters worse, the manual and semi-automated approaches most payables departments use to receive, process, and post invoices have negative results. Those processes frequently result in erroneous or missing information, poorly organized data, information latency, and fragmented systems. Not surprisingly, data siloes are a big problem in many accounts payable departments. All this makes it hard for senior management to access the variables they need to make informed decisions, much less fast ones.
None of these challenges are new, but remote working exposes and exacerbates them.
Slow decision-making negatively impacts profitability, operational resilience, organizational health, and growth – all things businesses will need to begin their comeback.
Accelerating decision-making when staff work from home will require large-scale change.
Reinventing AP for faster decision-making
Accounts payable must automate its processes to develop speed.
That is where cloud-based accounts payable automation solutions come in. No matter where staff work, automated accounts payable solutions eliminate the friction that hinders decision-making:
- Digital mailrooms reduce the time that invoice data remains stuck in invoices, e-mail boxes, portals, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) landing sites, and on fax machines
- Intelligent data capture speeds the capture, validation, and matching of invoice data so critical information can be accessible and delivered downstream faster
- Digital workflows keep processes and cashflow moving
- Exceptions management eliminates back-and-forth calls to chase down information
- Real-time visibility into invoice status drives productivity when staff work from home
- Analytics put smart cash and spend insights at the fingertips of those who need them
- Performance monitoring builds organizational speed, even as staff work remotely
- An online portal offers suppliers anytime, anywhere access to statuses and historical data
- Supplier management helps businesses rationalize the companies they do business with
Faced with the need to roll out technologies that enable employees to work remotely, more accounts payable departments are taking the opportunity to accelerate the capture and delivery of information as well. With technologies such as intelligent data capture, dynamic workflows, and advanced analytics, a department can speed the delivery of information to downstream systems and processes.
In addition, accounts payable automation enables stakeholders to collaborate more.
More than one-quarter of execs surveyed by McKinsey cite efficient decision making as a top way to accomplish things more quickly. Digitization makes this possible, no matter where staff work.
As remote workers settle into an operational rhythm, AP departments must figure out how to gain speed. That way, they can make good decisions more quickly and increase collaboration.
Accounts payable automation solutions can make this happen.
If your department is ready to build speed into its processes, Edenred Pay wants to speak with you.
Edenred Pay, an Edenred Company, is the global leader in invoice-to-pay automation. Our integrated platform connects businesses with suppliers, ERPs, banks, FinTechs, and payment rails to automate, optimize, and monetize the entire B2B payments lifecycle – from invoice receipt through payment reconciliation. Edenred Pay’s efficient, integrated solutions create a frictionless process and help deliver value to the enterprise by enhancing visibility and monetizing AP.