If it is taking your accounts payables department more time to approve invoices, you are not alone.
One-third of accounts payable practitioners are working longer hours these days 1 . That is on top of the long days most accounts payable professionals worked before the onset of the pandemic. 8% of accounts payable practitioners are working an additional two or more hours per day.
The growing accounts payable workload can largely be attributed to the operational disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced departments to quickly adapt their processes and procedures to address new ways of working, new challenges and risks, and new economic pressures.
It has been hard to adapt paper-based processes to remote working arrangements.
The challenges created by the pandemic are on top of the inefficiencies that most accounts payable departments faced before the pandemic. There are a lot of interdependent tasks that go into getting suppliers paid. Accounts payable departments need to onboard suppliers, keep the vendor master up to date, stay in compliance with tax regulations, keep track of invoice approvals, communicate with suppliers regarding the status of invoices, reconcile payments, and more – all while being mindful of the dozens of policies, rules and regulations that must be followed when approving supplier invoices.
It is no wonder that 84% of an accounts payable practitioner’s day is wasted on tedious manual activities such invoice data entry and paper shuffling 4 . In fact, accounts payable leaders often spend more time each day on transaction processing than on the managerial tasks they were hired for.
A new breed of digital technology automates the invoice approval and posting process end-to-end, from the receipt of an invoice through entry into an enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform.
The technology can validate PO and non-PO invoices as well as exceptions. And it can digitally route invoices that require approval and keep track of invoice status and operational performance.
With this digital technology, accounts payable staff only intervene when necessary.
This frees accounts payable staff from the drudgery of manual tasks. As a result, staff have more time for higher-value activities such as cashflow analysis and building supplier relationships – the types of things that will be critical to helping businesses navigate the post-pandemic economy.
2 IOFM Virtual Town Hall Meeting, 4/27/20
3 IOFM Virtual Town Hall Meeting, 6/21/20
4 IOFM AP Department Benchmarking Report
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President at Brousseau & Associates
Over the past 26 years, Mark Brousseau has established himself as a thought leader on accounts payable, accounts receivable, payments and document automation. A popular speaker at industry conferences and on webinars and podcasts, Brousseau advises prominent end-users and solutions and services providers on how to use automation to improve document- and payments-driven business processes. Brousseau has chaired numerous educational conferences and has served on several industry committees and boards. He resides in Center City Philadelphia with his wife and three sons.