If you are a consistent reader of my articles… first, thanks! Second you probably have realized that I use the word “journey” as it pertains to the automation process.
I use the word journey because AP Automation has unique phases, and each phase has it own distinct obstacles, challenges and problems. Just like any journey or trip that you go on, the more prepare you are the smoother it goes. The challenge that I see people have a difficult time with is experience. On a journey, the more you are familiar with the lay of the land and all of the curves the better your trip. With AP Automation people have a tendency to think they know because they know their AP process, but there are blind spots.
Step 1 – Discovery
Before you automate you decide that AP Automation is going to be a project and it something your company wants to do. In this part of the journey there is a real need to do some internal checking and self-evaluation. That’s why I recommend a cost per invoice or new time study as well as making sure that your organization is ready for the change.
Step 2 – Buy
Once you have committed and found several suitable service providers you go through the process of figuring out which provider is going to be best for you. At this point I recommend people do demos, opening ended as well as scripted and follow those demos up by checking references to find out which service provider is going to best fit their unique needs.
Step 3 – Implement
After you have found the perfect service provider, the next phase in your journey is implementation. This is tricky, I wrote a lot about this in The 8 Pitfalls. Generally writing, implementation is the time and event that will allow you to configure, test and learn an entirely new Accounts Payable process. There is so much I can write here about implementing AP Automation, but because this I am just wanting to outline the journey I think I will keep my keyboard quite.
Here is the point of this article (you are welcome). Once you have gone through all of those time-consuming and elaborate phases in your AP Automation journey, you are done. Right? No! Automation is an ongoing process it’s not an event. People who treat AP Automation like events are doomed. In The 8 Pitfalls, I clued people into the idea that it is difficult to automate AP because you know no data. Meaning if you have a paper Accounts Payable process it is only until you get the paper out of the process will you really (REALLY) know what is going on. I have given the advice to people that it is only six-months after automating that you will have the data that you need for automation. (So) Does that mean that you need to be doing an implementation every six months? Yes… nope – just kidding – keep reading. It doesn’t mean you do a new implementation every six months, but in the beginning you need to do a formal review process, and six months later do another formal review. After that they should be less formal, but still reviewed.
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