What Does A Vendor Phone calls cost?

This type of question may never cross your mind. I was fortunate to have been introduced to the cost of a vendor phone call earlier in my career. If you are a consistent reader you will know that I write a lot about why accountants do what they do and normally it cycles back to why they do what they do because… well… that’s the way it’s always been done.

No Fault

I hope those last remarks didn’t come across as a dig on accountants, because it’s not. Accounting and Finance people have a job to do and they do it. More to the point of the title of this article… when the phone rings accountants pick it up and answer the question. There is no need to calculate how much it cost to answer the phone… it’s just a cost of doing business.

More On Change

You may have notice a particular theme with my articles in January. The common theme is change. It’s a good time to write about change because January has a tendency to be a natural time to re-evaluate. With the idea that 2014 is new and you answer the phone because it rings on to the answer of cost per call.


Well, there you go – $7.95. I guess I could stop writing, but I think you deserve to know how I got them number and what it has to do with Accounts Payable Automation.

I got the number originally from a webinar where the subject matter expert (with a British accent – I wish I had one of those.. maybe for 2014 I will create one for webinars) quoted the number from an Aberdeen report. Now that I have successfully cover any copy write problems, and not being satisfied by just taking the number and quoting it, I did my own study.

Here Is What I Did

I took a small group of accounts payable clerks and average their salaries ($28,500) and ask them what percentage of calls per week are you able to answer without research which was 75%. With the 25% remaining I asked how much time did they spend in getting the answer. The number was about 2 1/2 hours over about 4 days. Then I asked how many call do they get per day and the answer was 6  (all of these are averages). It’s not all that scientific but  taken the average time, instances and salary comes out to be $7.30


That’s right $7.30… I know that’s no $7.95, but the is still a cost for answer the 75% of calls that are answer without research. I guess I should do that math, but I want to make a point (you are welcome)

2 Things

There are two things that can dramatically affect that number. Thing 1 is a vendor portal to let the vendor answer the 75% of their own questions. Thing 2 is Accounts Payable Automation (yea! Finally got to it). AP Automation will dramatically take the $7.30 to about $.50 because (if done right) Automation will give you quick information about where the invoices are in process and what’s going on with each invoices.

Want to know more? 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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