I was recently speaking with a group of soon to be automated AP people in LA (I think that’s going to be my new name for converts – or, like a lot of corporate America, I need to give them initials: SAAPP – huh? I don’t think that will work). One interesting discussion we had focused on change and change management. Accountants consistently get the stigma of being stuck in their routine and unable to move… Here is a joke to illustrate:
“Why did the accountant cross the road??? Because that’s what they did at the same time last year!” (pause for laughter)
In the 8 Pitfalls I write a lot about change and change management. It is the one topic that seems to be very difficult for organizations. For a long time companies have had to deal with change, but for some reason when approaching change around AP there is a quick and swift “NO!” This reaction is detrimental to a company when going from a paper AP process to an Automated AP process… Why? (thanks for asking) Because it will significantly limit the scope and execution of the project.
Here is how… When presented with “We are automating” the decision comes from somewhere in middle or upper management. When it comes to “how” should we automate, upper and middle pulls in the people doing the work (notice I didn’t write – lower – there is a reason for that). The dynamic of upper not knowing the details, middle fearing failure in the change, and the workers not wanting to change makes the approach to automation watered down… conservative. There is an overt effort to lower the risk, which is one thing accountants do very well.
Accountants are not by nature creative people. They are by nature people who tend to limit risk as much as they can – and when AP is being automated limiting risk is the corner-stone to implementing a process/product/service that will create more problems than it solves. Now – don’t get me wrong; the conversation I had with the soon to be automated AP people in LA concluded that they don’t want creative accountants. Each person had a good laugh about “creative” accountants they have known or have employed and how much that creativity had gotten them in trouble.
The point is – read the book (shameless plug) – identify where the push back on change is going to be and accommodate for those people. Making them an asset instead of viewing them as a liability will make the path of going from paper to automated AP much more impactful!
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For more information go to www.newwayap.com