I have made it no secret that I work with a lot of companies in the middle market. The definition of the middle market are those companies that are $5M – $1B in annual revenue. Middle market companies don’t have the advantage to use headcount reduction as the chief motivator for Accounts Payable Automation… so ATTENTION has to be drawn to Accounts Payable Automation.
The Squeaky Wheel
In the business of Accounts Payable Automation I have come to learn that there is no such thing as a “no brainer”. If any one of the people I work with use the term, I have to correct them. The reason for the no – no brainer (kind of like non-fiction) is because the paper system you have employed in AP is not all that bad. I have had people say, “We have been getting most of the bills paid this way for 30 years…. why should I change?”
Fortunately I have an answer to that questions, but that’s a topic for another blog. My point (you are welcome) is Accounts Payable is not a squeaky wheel… it doesn’t make much noise. It just does it thing and if it is not broken… then… well you know.
AP Automation’s Outcome
I have written a lot about the definition of automation… or why people automate, but to seize the attention of you come your first move is to know what time it is… not really knowing the time, but knowing what is the impact of Automation by knowing how much time it will free up.
The average company I work with have 5000 invoices per month. Using that as a benchmark, most of those companies free up about 8500 hours per year. That’s the first thing that can catch someone’s attention in your company. Asked the leaders what they would do with an additional 8500 hours per year… how would that positively impact your company?
Create Your Plan
The hours will get their attention, but only partially. To get your companies full attention you will need a plan. You will have to do a little homework on this because you will need to know (based on the 8500 hours) what time is being freed up by person or job title. The difficult thing about time is it doesn’t free up whole people (I know that sounds terrible) it frees up percentage of people’s times (in the middle market). That is why the plan is critical, you have to communicate the outcome or the impact. The impact is the hours (8500) the outcome, as an example, is instead of doing accounting system data entry you are going to use staff to go after vendor discounts… or contract negotiations.
Time will start the conversation and a good plan put the conversation to actions. Time and plan is AP Automation 101!
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