Knowing is Way More Than ½ The Battle With AP Automation

You might remember from previous posts that I am the guy that has the exciting life of writing books about Accounts Payable Automation (I am a lot of fun at parties). Taking the lead from my previous post about the book, The 8 Pitfalls of AP Automation, I wanted to write about each pitfalls so today I am going to start with pitfalls number one… knowing your current environment.

Just Like Kids

I have four kids, but I don’t have a favorite… really I don’t. I have 8 pitfalls and I do have a favorite … it’s the first one, knowing your current environment. As I mentioned in my last post the reason I wrote The 8 Pitfalls was to give people insight to where they would go wrong with automation. The reason why the first pitfall is my favorite is because it separates the successful projects from the unsuccessful.


To be clear, those companies that don’t heed the warnings that the first pitfall announces, it doesn’t mean that they will fail, and those that do will automatically be successful, it does mean that if you don’t get it right in the beginning you have put yourself in a really difficult position. The problem is most companies don’t even think about looking internally before looking externally, which is the point behind the first pitfall.

So What Is It?

The first pitfalls can be best explained by a story or scenario. When an organization decides that they have to look into automation to see if it’s something they should do. The natural reaction is to go to the Internet for a friendly Accounts Payable or AP Automation search. The search, by designs of service providers, results in a list of organization that would love to sell you automation services. Your organization selects a few companies, contacts them, and starts the demo process. The process get hot and heavy and many (MANY) hours are spent talking, reviewing and analyzing each offering only to find out that they are very similar and there is no clear winner. The first pitfall, know your environment, encourages initial researcher to look integrally before going to the Internet.

What Should You Know?

Before you start to work with service providers there are a few things that your should know about your organization.

  1. Your process. I know this may come across as simple, but it is important to know where all of your invoices are going as well as who is touching and managing each invoices. When you know that you can figure out how much time each task takes.
  2. You current cost to process. I refer to this as cost per invoice. Each invoice that goes through your process cost your organization a certain about of money, regardless of the amount on the invoice. This number is extremely important before you automate.
  3. Your companies ability to change. I write a lot about this in the book, because it helps companies set realistic goals. (Meaning) If a company that has a difficult time or is not ready for change, going all in with AP Automation my be too much to handle, however if a company is ready there is no need to move slowly. In this situation, knowing is a lot more than half the battle.


Before you search, you should do some research internally. As I wrote in the introduction, looking internally before going externally is a step that will save you a lot of time and headaches.

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

How about a children’s book? The Princess and the Paper – click here to buy

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