Month-end is a stressful time for many accounts payable departments. The creation of closing reports can be a monotonous and time-consuming task, particularly for those still dependent on manual processes to get the job done. How can AP automation help?
Fortunately, a growing number of organizations are waking up to the fact that it doesn’t have to be this way. During the pandemic, many re-assessed their processes and quickly discovered the value that accounts payable (AP) automation can bring, not only when it comes to streamlining operations and supporting remote collaboration, but also staying on top of data in real-time. Below are some of the many ways it helps to achieve this.
Saving time and resources with AP Automation
AP automation helps to increase the efficiency and accuracy of month-end reporting in a variety of ways. One of the most impactful is through automation of the many tedious manual processes involved in month-end reporting. These processes needlessly take up significant amounts of time, keeping AP teams in the back office much longer than necessary. They are also much more susceptible to human error, especially during the rush to summarize financials at the end of each month. However, many of the processes involved, from invoice matching to data verification, can be quickly and easily automated, saving valuable time while simultaneously eliminating costly errors.
AP automation can also be used to standardize manual reporting procedures. Many of these procedures vary greatly depending on who’s implementing them, which can quickly lead to confusion and mistakes by other team members. Standardizing them through a central AP automation helps organizations ensure everyone is always on the same financial page. Furthermore, well-documented procedures provide the highest level of speed and accuracy when tackling month-end closing reports, as well as other audit processes.
Simplifying management of both data and people
Another key consideration during month-end reporting is the data itself, which can often get buried or delayed under manual, paper-based processes. AP automation creates much greater visibility by eliminating paper invoices, providing real-time reporting, and creating ready-to-use, customized reports for the month/year-end closing. As a result, relevant data is always at the fingertips of the right stakeholders when needed.
It can also be used to improve team collaboration. Effective AP operations rely on team members working together to deliver projects both quickly and efficiently. AP automation enables this by creating transparency throughout teams, so everyone understands the responsibilities assigned to each other. It also supports collaboration, regardless of time, circumstances, or location, with invoice approvals and inquiries resolved in seconds or minutes, rather than days or weeks.
Driving operational efficiency across the business
Optimizing efficiency throughout every aspect of operations is crucial to remaining competitive in a constantly evolving global market. AP automation seamlessly performs tasks that can take many hours of employee time to complete. It can also do it in real-time, from any device or location, in a collaborative and safe environment, saving time and money while increasing efficiency and productivity.
AP automation can make month-end closing reports painless – if the right processes are put into place. The end goal with any automation is to eliminate the confusing paper chase associated with manual processing and supporting real-time collaboration from any location. Not only does this free up team members to work on more strategic and innovative activities, but it also puts crucial financial data at the fingertips of those who need it, when they need it, allowing for faster, more informed decision making at all levels of the business.