Automation

In the previous installment of this series, we reviewed the importance of costing each step of an automation initiative, benchmarking other organizations’ implementations for guidance, and remapping your processes to streamline and improve them. Once this is done and a project plan has been laid out, it’s time to look for a vendor.

Narrowing the Field

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At this point, you’ll want to write a detailed RFI (Request for Information). Here, you

In the last part of this series, we discussed the importance of assembling a team of people from every single department that touches the P2P process, even those on the periphery, like technology and human resources. This team will map the overall process from start to finish.

Figure the Costs

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After a detailed process map has been created, costing should be done for each step. This facilitates weeding out processes that cost more than they yield
Last time, we discussed how AP can improve its relationship with procurement by positioning itself as a business partner, ensuring that vendors are not on the SDN list of barred entities, collecting and vetting all proper tax forms, and establishing accurate payment information up front. These steps will ensure that when it comes time for procurement to do its job and purchase something, there will be no issues.

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We also talked about approaching u

In part 3 of this series, we covered the need for aligning AP, Finance and Purchasing before attempting any automation initiative. This necessitates AP taking on a greater leadership role by collecting metrics to help identify bottlenecks and broken processes, all of which can torpedo automation.

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Here, we’ll discuss how to build on that momentum to deepen AP’s strategic role within the organization to prepare for when automation begins to ta

In Part 2 of this series, we discussed how important it is to clean up messy, catch-as-catch-can processes in AP before attempting to automate. Because AP is the last touchpoint in a long chain of potential inefficiencies, trying to automate AP without addressing the larger organizational problems can doom any such initiative before it even gets off the ground. But where to start?

Step 3: Aligning AP, Finance and Purchasing

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It probably is no gre

In Part 1 of this series, we began to discuss the pitfalls of AP automation, and why so many organizations struggle with these implementations. The fact is, the difficulty usually comes not through lack of effort and initiative, but rather arises from the fact that AP comes at the end of an often-chaotic purchasing process.

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Often siloed from purchasing and other parts of the organization, accounts payable may be isolated, forced to deal with mes

Part 1: Exactly What Is the Problem Here?

You’ll read about automation as the magic bullet for everything that’s wrong with accounts payable. It’s supposed to speed up processing and save costs, the two main goals that AP is usually tasked with. And yet, implementing an automation solution without first digging deeper to fix problems at the root will likely result in significant disruption, and may even make things worse.

Why Is This?

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It’

By Pam Miller, APMD When getting ready to implement a new process or system, we often run the old and new processes or systems in tandem. Sometimes this takes the form of a pilot or a test project and sometimes we run systems in parallel to ensure that if there are any issues with the...… Read More

AP and P2P professionals may have at least heard of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and may also be familiar with predictions that this new use of sophisticated computer software to automate high-volume, rule-based processes without the need for constant human supervision is set to change the face of finance and accounting (F&A) processes. This article...… Read More

By Pam Miller, APMD Many AP departments have become automated—at least partially. That means that some processes are automated, some are probably still manual, and some are in-between (not as manual as they used to be, but still not totally hands off). Very often, the process of automating has left accounts payable with multiple systems...… Read More

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