Preparing for Accounts Payable Automation


I couldn’t help myself in using the above image to start an article on preparation… This is the way that my dad prepares for things… with sticky notes. Me on the other hand, I am paperless. My son asked me to sign a form for school, but I was unable to locate a pen… that’s how paperless I am.

My Son

I love having kids… I have four. They have a unique way of keeping you humble. One of the moments that a writer dreams about is the day that box of your first run books shows up at your home… In my case, that day came, and I was so excited. I gather the family around the coffee table with a pair of scissors. Before I pierced the seal on the box, I paused (very dramatically) and convinced myself that this was the perfect time to give my kids a motivational speech. I said with great pride, “kids, this is proof that if you set your mind to something that is worthy and big, all you have to do is attack that goal everyday… piece by little piece and you can achieve anything.” I cut into the box as if it were the cake on my 100th birthday and proudly presented it to the family for their awe and amazement. Then my (then) 12-year-old son said:

“Dad, you just wrote a paper book about being paperless”

Well… I hadn’t thought about that. My wife, hours later came up with the response that I should have used (funny how that goes) that it was a paper book about being paperless for paper people. I now have that comeback in my arsenal if the moment presents itself.

That was The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation

The book that my son humbled me on was The 8 Pitfalls. The book has been out for two plus years now  (more like three) and has sold over 5,000 copies… I can’t believe it either. I have had people read it in 15 different countries and I even had someone randomly quote the title on an elevator when I stepped on (that was a big day for me). The point of The 8 Pitfalls is to get people and companies ready for automation.

The Angle

Since 2000 I have been helping companies go for a paper to an automated Accounts Payable process. Up until 2009, before I decided to write The 8 Pitfalls.  I used to get the same question time and time again from people who were beginning their automation journey… “What do I need to be prepared for before I automate AP?”

The Answer

Well, it is not a simple answer, but the one I give is when preparing to automate AP, make sure that you look internal before you look external. The companies that I work with that do their homework and really get a grip on what is going on in their company have the greatest level of success. The companies that immediately go a google search for automation service providers seem to have the biggest problem. Now, I am all for a google search, but the general answer between success and failure comes from relying too much on the service providers capabilities rather than the internal knowledge of the accounting and finance team. There are three areas that I recommend that you look:

  1. Current Cost of Process (Cost Per Invoice)
  2. Ability to Change – How likely is your organization to change and get rid of the paper.
  3. Time Application – Where is it that you need more time?

Guess What?

If you want to know more… buy The 8 Pitfalls… did I mentioned I have four kids?

You Should Buy My Books!

To 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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