I tell people who are new to Accounts Payable Automation, whether they are a users, evaluator or salesperson the same thing. I tell them the problem with AP Automation is people don’t know what it is, how it works or the impact that it will have on their organization. Then a pause for a minute and say, “other than that they are fine with automation” and a pause again to see if they laugh.
Need to Define
I have written many times in these articles that I wrote The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation to help define the automation world. I have also written many times that the book didn’t meet that goal, and became more of a best practice book (which is great!).The second book I wrote, The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire was intended to help people develop facts on use to answer the question, “should I (customer) automate AP”. So far that book has also missed it mark (not by much) and has become more of a tool to help define AP Automation (oh boy).
In both books I define Accounts Payable Automation with words… “the independent movement of liabilities through a predefined approval process” (p.18 The 8 Pitfalls). However, what I have found is a definition needed to be more “action” oriented. So my wordy definition changed to, “Accounts Payable Automation is only as good as the people time and effort that it frees up.”
Once I changed my definition from wordy to action(y), people had the opportunity to quickly understand and (better) were able to transfer that understanding to others within their company. As time has gone by, I have learned another very useful aspect about the action defining; it created a really big question that needed to be answered, and that is if automation is only as people as the people, time and effort that it frees up, then (1) who are those people, (2) what is that time and (3) how much effort?
This is really the key to finding out if AP Automation is something that would work for your organization. The book (Argument to Automate) gives you a step by step process on finding people, time and effort, but the important question to ask yourself before you go through the steps is: Do you have any need for more time or to better use your people? If you answer yes to either one of those questions (or better both) then you have at a high level found out that Accounts Payable Automation is something you need.
Want to know more? Buy My Books!
The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy
The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy