If you are an SMB looking for automated Accounts Payable solution then most probably by now you must have realized that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to automate your Accounts Payable Solution. Being one of the most trusted remote accounting firms in the market, we folks at Back-office Accounts often receive a mail asking for suggestions.
And guess what happens to be the most common question we answer? In recent months– ‘What is the best Accounts Payable automation solution for small and medium business?’ After a slew of question and answers from either side of the screen, we provide the required information that can help them chose their perfect account payable automation solution for their needs.
Given how frequently we are asked this question we decided to articulate the information to help small and medium business find their right AP automation solution. So here are three simple steps that can help you identify the right accounts payable automation solution for your business:
- Define your project scope & have a clear set of objectives:
If your ultimate goal is to streamline and accelerate the entire proves to reap maximum benefits, automation is sure the right way.
But as said it is the ultimate step in the long automation process which can only be possible if you carefully plan the automation to tackle the current AP challenges. And you can kick-start your plan by defining the scope of your automation project and having a clear and quantifiable set of objectives before you embark on the automation process.
The scope of the automation project is the total outline of the relevant objectives you would like to achieve. While you define your scope, have a clear quantifiable set of objectives defined for the scope which for example is to reduce the invoice processing by X%. This helps you have clear idea about your requirements and also help you set goals to gauge your progress and tweak the process in the future.
- Identify the needs of your business:
Defining the scope and quantifiable objectives are primarily defined by identifying the needs of your current accounts payable process. Have a go-through of the workflows of your AP process and scrutiny the handling of these workflows – steps involved, manpower, time, cost, risks, and mistakes and challenged in both PO & non-PO invoice processing. This helps you locate the pain points of your current AP system to help you define your set of objectives and scope of the project.
Also, it lends you clarity on the type of AP automation you must implement features you must look out in these solutions. For example, if your approvals are taking longer than expected lookout for automated AP systems with centralized communication platforms, automated reminders with the capability to approve invoices remotely. If you identify that manual data entry is costing your business to many resources and money, make features like PDF invoice capture, AI, data extraction with easy access to documentation your priority.
- Take your system dependencies into your account:
Now that you identify the scope of the project and have outlined the clear set of objectives, and zeroed-in on the features you would like in your AP automation project, now you must take your system dependencies into the account for choosing the right fit.
As for an Accounts Payable solution, the Enterprise Resources Planning system of the business is the most important factor when you are looking to update your AP process with automation. Strong and seamless integration of ERP with the accounts payable process is extremely important to synchronize the invoice, procurement and general accounting data and ensure proper information exchange for reaping maximum benefits out of automation. So identify the ERP system or any other accounting system your business employs to know your automation options, estimate the timelines and come up with new plans to upgrade the systems to maximise the selection. This step helps you in your researching process and negotiation with the vendors.
Having a clear set of objectives, list of features that cater to your objectives and solve your business challenges and knowing your system dependencies, significantly simplifies the whole process of selecting the right AP automation software for your business. At this point, it becomes fairly easy to research, audit and compare the available AP automation solutions available.
If you are a small and medium business owner who is on the lookout for more information on the automated AP systems you can contact our Accounts Payable Specialists here. That said, if the whole process of finding the right automated AP solution is too much of a task for your business at this point of time you can also reap as many benefits by outsourcing Accounts Payable to remote accounting firms like Back Office Accounting, you can contact us here: https://www.backofficeaccountants.com/