Back to Basics – What is Automation?

With the flurry of recent webinars, I am reminded that us automation nerds can’t get too far away from the general public. There are still a lot of people out there that don’t have any real good idea what accounting (AP and Payments) automation is. When training sales folks, I tell them they have to keep in mind that their first call with people starting their automation journey may be cloudy at best when it comes to an automation definition. The worst thing someone can do is to define automation by the technology. What I mean by defining automation by the technology is when someone is asked why automate or what is automation all about the answer comes back in the form of bells, whistles or features attached to the software that automates the process. Another problem with defining automation based on the technology is you won’t have any clear objectives to pursue based on the definition.

I wrote The 8 Pitfalls to help people define Accounts Payable Automation. As I presented the material in the book to anyone that was willing to listen, I found that the book’s definition wasn’t cutting it, so I decided to move away from that definition and more to a definition that explained the outcome or impact of automation.

Old Definition: “The independent movement of liabilities through a predefined set of approvals”

Not horrible, but here is the new one.

New Definition: “Automation is only good as the people, time, and effort that it frees up”

I don’t even know if the last statement is really a definition. It does explain well what automation is, and it gives people a perspective on what automation can do.

Stay tuned. In the next few days I am going to continue with the idea that automation is only as good as the people, time ,and effort that it frees up.

Buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

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