Recently I completed a study of 400 company that have automated their accounts payable process. When I do studies I try as hard as I can to make things simple so I can get a maximum response. This time I decided to ask them one question: “If you had to do it all over again (Automate AP) would you do it and if yes what would you do different.
Out of all of the answers I was able to collect those answers into seven broad categories. There were a few outliers but by in large the responses fit well in the seven categories. Here are the seven with a brief explanation.
Category 1 – Impact of Time
AP Automation has the ability to free up additional time. Looking back, the group said that they wish they would have put more emphasis on maximizing time and using that new time in better ways.
Category 2 – Accounting System
The group said that they would have like to have chosen a service provider (an AP Automation software company) where the accounting system was in control and not competing with automation software. The group summed this idea up by saying that (the advice) the accounting system should be the system of record.
Category 3 – References
Companies would have like to do a better job of checking references. They would have like to have done more research on companies that used their preferred service provider.
Category 4 – Savings
Most companies would have liked to evaluate savings better. This comes from the idea that AP Automation will create a return on investment (ROI), but it’s not the typical ROI where someone was going to write you a check for the money that is saved.
Category 5 – Cloud
There wasn’t a lot of consistence with this category because cloud based computing is becoming more and more common, and people are getting more and more comfortable with cloud computing. The feedback on this category was from companies that had implemented more than seven years ago and wished they would have gone with a company that had a cloud offering or a better cloud offering.
Category 6 – Communication
Companies wished they would have communicated the value of Accounts Payable Automation better. The companies that gave this feedback had an idea that the implementation and change would have done better if the communication was better.
Category 7 – The Advocate
This category is a little different from the six previous. The companies didn’t come right out a say they needed an advocate to help the organization change. An advocate is someone or some group that helps the organization stay focused on why they are changing (similar to category six). What I found was the companies that had an advocate had a much easier time going from paper to automated.
Would They Do It Again?
To answer the questions of the article… there was not one company that said they would go back to paper. Some said they would have like to choose a better service provider, but there was no way they would go back to the paper.
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