Adoption, Options and Successful AP Automation!
It is curious that expense reporting, commonly known as travel and expense or T&E projects can be hit or miss. A hit is a full adoption with no one person left out. A miss is having one process that is automated and a second process that is paper.
That’s right, you may be surprised how many expense reimbursement projects are not fully adopted. At the risk of playing the blame game (accounting vs the field) the blame is squarely placed on both. The company will go into automation with the mindset that there will be certain invoice types that need to be left out. The types in the client’s mind will be too difficult for automation. Then, on the other side, the service provider will approach the client with advice to leave certain invoice types out because their software is deficient (I have written many times that you should never let the service provider’s problems become your problems).
Here is what I have found. You have to get as many expenses into your project to increase adoption. The key to getting as many invoice types into your project are options. There is a few areas where as many options as possible helps with adoption.
- Receipt – the more options a service provider can receive invoices the higher the adoption. A few examples are, multiple scanning options, email, portals, EDI and API connection.
- Workflow Triggers – Once an expense is converted the technology should assign an approval process or workflow to that expense. The more options the service provider has the higher the adoptions. Here are a few trigger examples, employee, PO, attention to, project, location, business unit, property, cost center and department.
- Approval Process Flexibility – Once the expenses are assigned to an approval process the more flexible the approval process the higher adoption. Examples are dollar amount, contract, PO and budget escalation.
- System Integration – Lastly when expenses are fully approved how the accounts payable system and the ERP or Accounting System communicate. The more options you have to either import, sync or integration the higher the adoption. Once size doesn’t fit all when it comes to integrations.
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