When faced with Accounts Payable Automation there is a natural dilemma that occurs when asking the question, “why automate”.
For a select few companies there is an easy answer. Like a need and opportunity in the company to reduce headcount by employee software rather than people. For others the need and opportunity is not so apparent. With those knowing that in the future, paper invoices will be gone but when will the future start creates a dilemma?
Are you ready for change? This is something that people have a tendency to over look from an analytical perspective. What I mean by analytical perspective, to go from a paper to an automated Accounts Payable process, companies generally don’t have experience to draw from, meaning they have only known a paper based AP process. To know if you are ready, look at other factors within your company. A good example is to think of the last time you updated your ERP or Accounting System. How did it go? Was it on time? Where there any fist fights? Did anyone lose their job? If the answers to the questions where positive (for the most part) then you have a good track record to make a change like AP Automation. If their was a fist fight over the Accounting System upgrade… you may want to think twice about your timing.
- When is the best time to change? This may seem similar to point one, but the point here is to know your business cycles. There will be certain points and times of the year where taking on an AP Automation project won’t be a good idea, and I am not just referring to the obvious accounting times of the year… I am referring to spikes in your business. One thing to keep in mind here is to make sure that you are planning ahead for the down time, so you are not caught in that downtime with not enough time to do a project.
- Who will benefit from the change? When I was doing a lot of demos, I made it a point to ask who else in the organization should take a look at automation. Sometimes people would come up with names, but generally my main contacts would say no one else. Then, at the end of the process there would be two or three groups that wanted to look at the software before the deal was signed. That’s an example of not really knowing who was going to benefit from the change. It was only until a check was going to be cut that other groups became more interested. Knowing who the change will affect can give you a big leg up in knowing when to automate AP.
The Accounts Payable Automation dilemma is not knowing when to go from paper to an automated process. By doing a little corporate soul-searching you can get a great picture on when you will be most successful.
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