Now, I am not a big fan of telling people right out of the gate that they are doing something wrong. Lately, however, I have noticed a trend with people’s behavior when it come to automation conversations.
Having been an automator since 2000, you can imagine I have had a lot of automation conversations. I have found, however, that most of these conversations start and are mostly contained to accounts payable. Rightfully so, I only have about 500 articles on this site that are touting the virtues of Accounts Payable Automation. As of the last five years I have started to raise the conversation around automating the payment process.
You Want To Do What!?!
Maybe it’s a learning curve or the market is not ready for automated payments, but there is an aversion to wanting to have the conversation. A typical conversation starts with a deep dive into AP ending with a simple questions, “Have you thought about automating your payments?” With the answer being, “No… No way. We want to do first things first and concentrate on the invoice side.” I typically don’t say a word to make sure they have gotten it all out and then without provoking they say, “well I guess it wouldn’t hurt to have the conversation” which is all I need to start the ball rolling.
Once they are open to the conversation that’s when the real fireworks start. There is a lot of listening on the side of the client to start, then there is a little denial (I have had people comment by asking me if it’s legal – good news – it is) then I get a ton of questions, one right after the other, almost as if they are trying to get it all out. Then there is some type of acceptance when they are unable to find the holes or the catch. The acceptance process (notice I wrote process and not event) may take some time… a few day maybe even weeks.
With the advent of new technology, portals, payment networks (almost anything other than check or ACH) people come to the same conclusion… “We have been thinking about payments all wrong”. My point (you are welcome) is that it is very difficult to ask, question, evaluate anything that you don’t know exists. Our lives in accounting and finance is changing so fast that it’s difficult to keep up with. I really admire those that take a leap and change their status quo because let’s face it, the payments still have to go out, people still want/need their money and the books have to be balanced. It take a lot to step away from the daily grind and ask yourself if there is a better way. But when you do… well – you will see.
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