I consider myself a person that does a lot of preparing. To give you an example my family and I moved about 8 months ago and I had a detailed project plan with an attached Spreadsheet that nobody but me paid attention to. In the end we moved but I think the rest of the family would have been better off if we would have fallen the plan.
I think the key to good planning is preparation. The better prepared you are the better the plan. Being prepared is one of the reasons I wrote The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation. Generally an automation journey starts with an internet search. The search present 3 or 4 service providers with great websites, which starts you on a path that leads to demos, analysis, more demos, and no clear decision. In The 8 Pitfalls I recommend that you do some internal soul search before you every pick up a clicker and start an internet search.
Thing 1 to help you know that your current process is ready for AP Automation is to ask yourself and team, and then ultimately analyze the last time your Accounts Payable process was updated. It is a very good practice whether you automate or not to review your process to make sure it is current. If you answer this questions between 3 years and never then you aren’t ready to automate.
Thing 2 to help you know that your current process is ready for AP Automation is to create a process map of all invoice activities. Some of you are lucky (you probably didn’t think about that when you were putting it together) you were mandated to map the process. Larger or public companies are required to create written approval rules… that’s a process map. For those of you that don’t have this mandated, you will need to write down each step of each process to have a full view of where invoices are going, who is approving and what the exception process is during the approval process.
Thing 3 to help you know that your current process is ready for AP Automation is to establish a cost for the process. Regardless of how many invoices and the dollar amount on those invoices. your process cost your organization a certain amount of money. Traditionally I refer to this as cost per invoice (CPI). One of the key indicators that proves the impact of automation is cost reduction. If you don’t know your current cost you won’t know if it can be reduced.
Thing 4 to help you know that your current process is ready for AP Automation is after you have done your research, cost and map to take a very critical look at every process and ask each step what its purpose. I have a belief that is walk a step in a process back to it origin you will find out why it was created and who it servers. If that purpose doesn’t match with what you need to accomplish then you have to put a big red “X” on that step.
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