I have been an Accounts Payable Automator since 2000. A lot has changed from that time. In the early days (I sound so old) the biggest conversation I had with people was about the security of the internet and how the internet was a legitimate place to store documents like invoices.
Times Have Change?
The more I preach, teach and council people about AP Automation the more I understand that it is less software and more people improvement. I have written a lot about AP Automation only being as good as the people, time and effort that it frees up. I hope my point is clear, that when you free the people up from manual task their skills can be used in other places… and the key to that is the “other places” have to be more impactful to the organization than the task they are currently doing. (So) If Accounts Payable Automation is people change there are three things you should know about your people before you automate.
Thing 1 – Skills
I hate to write this because it seem so obvious, but to be clear you have to know your people skills. Back to the idea that AP Automation is only as good as the time it frees up, and for automation to be well adapted in your organization the tasks that are being freed up have to be more important than their current tasks, so you have to know what your people are capable of. If your goal is to take the people who normally do data entry of AP transactions and move them into contract negotiation, they have to be able to communicate and negotiate well. If you don’t, you have more trouble than you started with.
Thing 2 – Time To Ramp
The next thing you have to know is know how long it will take to convert the people from one task to another. What is their ability to learn the new task? Similar to thing one, this thing is about the skills of your people, but not just their skills, but their ability to learn a new skill. The worst case with this thing is you are automated but if it takes months for your people to learn new tasks, you have wasted a lot of time.
Thing 3 – Change
Most people are resistant to change, however, if the change is communicated well and the proper amount of time is dedicated to the communication the easier time you will have. A few key indicators to lack or poor communication is the type and amount of resistance. If you know your organization well you will know these levels. If you are receiving more resistance on the change than normal then you communication was poor and you didn’t give yourself enough time.
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