7.5 Things I Wish I Would’ve Known About AP Automation Before I Started

Posted by Jen Bieker on May 6, 2014

In a continual effort to help companies get rid of paper in their Accounts Payable process, I am always trying to find ways to help Microsoft Dynamics users understand what their process would look like once they have AP automation. This is not as easy of a concept as you might think. I’ve helped over 400 companies transition from a paper-based to paperless process in my past 15 years of experience and trust me—I’ve seen it all.

I’ve compiled what I believe are the top things I wish I would’ve known before guiding these companies through their automation journeys. After all, isn’t it nice to learn from others’ mistakes?

1) Time Allocation – AP Automation is only as good as the time it frees up. If you don’t have more valuable things for your employees to do with their “new time,” you won’t find value in automation. Make sure you have a plan for this time so you can get the most out of your investment.
2) Accounting Systems Integration –Try and find a service provider that is already integrated with your accounting system. Also, make sure that your accounting system remains the system of record. You don’t want to be updating and maintaining two different systems…that seems like a waste of time!
3) Check References – Of course when you ask for a reference, the service provider is going to give you a good one. Make sure to ask questions like “How often do you give a reference call?” and “Are you compensated for reference calls?”
4) Real Savings – When calculating your ROI (return on investment), you can’t just consider the hard cost savings. You have to factor in soft savings as well (like the reduction in how many times an invoice has to be physically touched).
5) Cloud Vs. No Cloud – You need to understand the different types of cloud offerings. This ties in with the service provider’s implementation process. SaaS-based solutions will often save you time and money –and you can access them anywhere you have an internet connection, which makes it really convenient for approving invoices and payments on the go.
6) Communication – The project will take different twists and turns depending on who is “communicating” the project to the company. Is this coming from the top-down or the middle-up? Either way, know how automation will affect every aspect of your organization and make sure everyone is communicating regularly.
7) An Advocate –Your automation project won’t be successful if you don’t have an internal advocate (or a team of advocates) that believe in the project and aren’t afraid of change.

And what is number 7.5? You’ll have to register for my upcoming webinar to find out!

-Chris Elmore, Author and Automation Expert

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