We work with, and call on, a variety of organizations. Our clients range from insurance companies, to manufacturers, K-12 education to retailers and more. The one constant they all have, however, is a need to approve and pay invoices. The constant battle to place controls around the approval of invoices has easily made Accounts Payable workflow our top application.
It was not too many years ago that mid-sized companies were satisfied with what we referred to as a post process AP solution. It involved the scanning of the AP transaction packet following the payment of the invoice. This packet included the payment stub or voucher, all invoices listed in the payment, any purchase orders and receivers as well. This simple, but effective solution, eliminated the need to store paper and made retrievals for auditors a breeze. The problem was it did not create controls around the actual approval and payment of the invoice.
Next came AP approval workflows. A vast improvement to the post process solution. Information such as purchase orders, packing lists and vendor invoices are received and ingested into the workflow system as they created and/or received. AP departments could enact controls and rules that dictated how an invoice was processed. Efficiencies allowed for early pay discounts to be realized, late payments reduced and duplicate invoice processing a thing of the past. Things were good, but something was still missing. AP managers still desired a mechanism for delivering reports and predictive analytics.
Imagine the value of having a dashboard at your disposal that provides critical information on your AP approval process. Charts that display, real time, items in the workflow process, the time it takes a person to approve an invoice, how many active documents are in each user’s queue, how long each step of the workflow takes or what your cash liability will be in 10 or 20 days. These are just some of the useful analytics that are available to managers.
AP managers now have the tools to not only know where invoices are in the workflow, but to monitor and become proactive on improving routes, addressing users who take long than the average to review and process an invoice in their queue, to see where bottlenecks occur in the process. Analytics provide managers with the detailed data that they need to enact change and mange people. This is truly a game changer. Managers no longer need to rely on assumptions or a git feel. The numbers simply do not lie. They provide the kind of concrete analysis that is necessary to affect change.
FileBound by Upland published a white paper titled 5 Things You’re Missing if Your AP Automation Solution Doesn’t Have Predictive Analytics. In the report they discuss how “true analytics provide actionable insights that help drive business decisions. Instead of providing tactical data about a department — such as whether all of the processors met their productivity goals — analytics, especially predictive analytics, give decision-makers the information they need to make real-time changes to adjust for desired outcomes. They use data collected during the business process to draw the big picture of where the business is going.”
The five things you’re missing include;
- Adding value to the C-Suite with granular cash-flow intelligence.
- Elevating internal and external customer service.
- Establishing better benchmarking, SLAs and process improvement strategies.
- Elevating the role of Ap.
- Getting approval for your AP project.
All valid and interesting and points that you can leverage within your organization. Click here for a copy of the white paper. I recommend taking the time to review the white paper to learn more about how analytics can be a game changer for you.
Jack Arnston is a Principal at The Priton Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.