It is funny how the English language changes over time. When I wrote this title off of the back of a conversation that inspired me to write about tools and AP Automation, I cannot help to think of a person as a tool. Just to be clear, I won’t be writing about that one person in your company that’s a jerk… it’s not that type of tool.
Tool 1 – Capture
The first tool that makes AP Automation happen is the upfront capture piece. There has been a lot of talk about this tool. There are some schools of thought that says capture and automation should be separate. Other say that you need the best in breed whether that’s with one service provider or not. The best advice I can give you is to make sure, whatever you pick that you do the least amount of work or spend the least amount of time as possible on capture. Capture is one of those tools that if you are not careful can burn all of the time you save from automation, and that’s missing the point.
Tool 2 – Workflow
Workflow is the engine that drives AP Automation. Workflow is also known as the electronic approval process. Same as the capture advice, you don’t want to spend much time on administrating workflow. You also want to have it as automated as possible where you don’t have to choose approvers. The best advice I can give, however, make sure the workflow engine you pick is as flexible as possible. There is nothing worse than choosing a service provider that makes you change your approval process to accommodate for their software’s short comings.
Tool 3 – Integration
Generally the AP Automation system and the accounting or ERP system are two separate entities. If that’s the case with you, make sure that the integration is simple. It has to be able to move information from one system to the other (that’s the point) but be sure you aren’t buying or building something that violates the service agreement with your accounting or ERP system as well as create a huge beast that takes a team of people to baby sit.
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