Earlier this week I wrote an article about workflow and capture shouldn’t be separate. You can go back and review the post, but the long and short of it is, if you separate the two your expense will go up greatly, that’s why it’s important to find a service provider that can do both well.
Today’s article is about best of breed, which initially may seem like I am contradicting my capture and workflow article. However, I am aiming this advice toward those service providers that do AP Automation as well as other things.
Don’t Get Me Wrong
I don’t want my advice to be misunderstood. There are plenty of companies out there that do Accounts Payable Automation well and have other services, like accounting systems, AR Automation, Lock box… but there are also companies out there that have added AP Automation as an afterthought to their offerings.
The concept of “best of breed” comes from the notion that there are certain companies that do certain things better than others. To better explain, Accounts Payable Automation can be split into several parts:
- Workflow Approvals
- Integration (Accounting System)
- Search and Reporting
There can be more parts but these are the basics. As I wrote in the capture/workflow article, dividing all of these up and finding individual service providers for each doesn’t make much sense. The reason is it becomes very expensive to implement and maintain four different software platforms. Where best of breed tends to work, especially in the mid-market, is when Accounts Payable Automation is all the service provider does.
This is a rare find, that is a service provider that only does AP Automation. A lot of companies have grown into an automator, but there are some that AP Automation is all they have ever done. What makes them interesting is their focus and support structure. The focus tends to create great features and offerings for Accounts Payable. The support structure tends to help create and grow experts in the field. It’s the expert status, especially around support and implementation, that really can be helpful.
Finding the best of breed with automation is a journey that isn’t easy. A lot of things have to be considered, but partnering up with a company that knows what it is doing is a great thing.
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