How to Sell CFOs and Controllers on AP Automation

Greg Bartels

Strategies for convincing senior management to approve a proposal for accounts payable automation and invoice processing software.

How to Sell CFOs and Controllers on AP Automation

Having trouble winning approval for your accounts-payable automation proposal?

You may not be emphasizing the AP and invoice processing benefits that CFOs and controllers care about most.

Fifty-three percent of accounts payable leaders believe that CFOs and controllers will champion their department’s automation efforts over the next three years – surpassing every other enterprise stakeholder, including accounts payable, procurement, treasury and information technology.


That’s according to the Institute of Finance and Management’s (IOFM) Future of AP Study.

Edenred Pay believes it.


How to convince senior management to automate AP

1. Working capital optimization.

Automated accounts payable solutions put real-time decision-making into a CFO’s or controller’s hands like nothing else. Graphical dashboards provide instant visibility into invoices approaching the expiration of their early payment discounts. In addition, they highlight Key Performance Indicators such as total invoice value, accrual reporting, percentage of early payment discounts captured, and cash back rebates earned.  It is no wonder that nearly two-thirds of accounts payable leaders surveyed for IOFM’s Future of AP Study expect greater demand for visibility into accounts payable information over the next three years.


2. Tight control over corporate spend.

The graphical dashboards and rich reporting built into automated accounts payable solutions provide the real-time insights into corporate spending. This is essential information that CFOs and controllers require to help their business stay within budget and improve cash forecasting and financial planning. It also helps identify opportunities to reduce suppliers, avoid contract compliance issues and gain leverage during contract negotiations with suppliers.


3. Early payment discounts.

Many suppliers are willing to exchange a discount on the invoice-due amount for earlier payment.  The earlier the payment before the invoice due date, the larger the discount suppliers typically will accept.  The standard early payment discount is 2 percent.  But many buyers regularly capture larger discounts from suppliers.  Early payment discounts strengthen supplier relationships. They provide suppliers with much-needed cash flow, and head-off potential supply chain disruptions. Additionally, they reduce an organization’s total cost of goods and services purchased.  But none of these benefits are possible without an automated accounts payable solution that enables buyers to approve invoices within the early payment discount window.  Seven percent of accounts payable leaders expect their department to capture 25 percent more early payment discounts three years from now, IOFM says.


4. Cash-back rebates.

Paying suppliers with virtual cards enables businesses to earn cash-back rebates.  Cash-back rebates are calculated based on the total amount of spending made via card. The rebates can be used to offset the operational costs of an accounts payable department or to fund automation projects.  This is music to the ears of CFOs and controllers looking for ways to improve net profit margins.  Fifty-seven percent of accounts payable leaders expect to capture more card rebates as a total percentage of spend in the next three years, per IOFM.


5. Longer Days Payable Outstanding (DPO).

CFOs and controllers are on the lookout for ways to free up cash to pay down corporate debt, make capital investments, increase research and development, or support other growth initiatives.  One way to do this is by extending the average amount of time it takes to pay suppliers.  Paying suppliers with certain virtual card programs enables buyers to instantly extend their Days Payable Outstanding (DPO), without changing their payment terms.  Since the funding for the payment program is provided by the buyer’s bank via card, and the payback period to the card issuing bank doesn’t kick in until the payment is initiated, businesses can extend their average DPO by three weeks or more.


These are the reasons why senior management wants to automate AP.

Together they form a winning business case for automating accounts payable and invoice processing.


If your AP department is planning to automate its AP and invoice processing, contact Edenred Pay today!



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.

Visit or contact us to learn more.