Rules of Thumb For Leading Your Team Into AP Automation

I don’t think I have ever achieved anything by following the rules. You know the rules that others put on you or perceive that are good for you. Now, I am not talking about breaking the law. I have never achieved anything by breaking the law either, so today I am writing about that interesting middle ground between laws and rules.

Rule of Thumb

I can’t tell you how many times I have used the phrase, “rule of thumb” and had no idea where it came from. (So) I looked it up and come to find out that it comes from the 15th century (probably before that, but the 1600s is when it showed up in printed material – you know books) where it was believed that carpenter used the width of their thumb to measure inches. Like any phrase it has changed meaning and now take on a completely different meaning that, well we seem to understand. The rule of thumb has become more associated to a principle rather than a rule.


I love principles because they work with the underlying situation or the root cause regardless of the execution. So many times we get techniques or best practices (which is a phrase that I am trying to eliminate from my vocabulary) confused with principles, so I thought I would give you a few rules of thumbs or principles when it comes to leading your team into AP Automation.

Rule of Thumb #1 – Lead With Benefits

So many times when automating, companies buy software and install software as why they are changing accounts payable. The rule of thump here is that you lead, and explain why you are automating with the benefits of what automation is going to do for your company… Like, we are going to use are talented people in better ways.

Rule of Thumb #2 – Embrace the Change

If you really examine AP Automation in its purest form it is process change. If done correctly it is process improvement. It takes a good leader to really embrace the opportunity to change and to get as much as they possibly can out of the change. The flip side is an organize is so fearful of the new process, they do all they can to make sure the impact of automation isn’t felt anywhere. If you do that, it will be to the deterrent of your new process.

Rule of Thumb #3 – Know the End

Before you go from paper to paperless in accounts payable make sure you have defined what success is. My advice here is your best bet on your definition is to make success attached to a number. A few examples are that your want to reduce your cost to process an invoice from $22 to $9 or you want to free up 8500 hours to be used somewhere else. The worst thing you can do is define success as a sense or a feeling.

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

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