You have decided that you want to automate your AP process, now what?

You’ve decided that you want to understand more about AP Automation and how it may benefit your organization. What should you do next?

Here are some tips to consider as you start to move your organization toward an AP Automation Solution.

  • Understand your Existing Processes:
    • Prior to beginning to talk to AP Automation vendors, one of the most important considerations is to understand your existing business processes.  Once you have selected which processes to automate,  it is important to document your current process including all your written and “unwritten” rules or policies.  Remember, the objective is to increase the efficiency of this process so investing in a workflow technology to just do the same thing you’ve been doing for years may not be the best investment in this technology.
    • Many business practices were put into place for good reason but over time they have lost their value and are only practiced because of habit, not because it still makes sense.  A good workflow partner will help you through this process and should be asking you “why” you perform certain tasks.  Change is OK and in many cases it makes a huge difference between a successful installation (obtaining your goals and objectives) or not achieving them.

 

  • Integration:
    • The next decision is to determine if / how the workflow will be integrated into any of your key business applications – such as your accounting system   There are many forms of integration that will be discussed in more detail later, but it is important to understand how “tight” of an integration you need.  In some instances it may require the passing of basic data back and forth, but in other situations it should be more seamlessly integrated and in a real time environment.  When a tight integration is required, it important to either partner with a workflow company that truly understands your applications (both technically and from a business standpoint) or have that skill set in house.  It is one thing to say you can integrate with a system and its another to actually do it – so fully understand the level of integration that is necessary.

 

In order to have a successful implementation that meets the ROI objectives, you must be willing to spend some time and resources upfront.  This of course applies to most things, but if you plan and prepare properly, your project will have a much higher degree of success including both on time and on budget.  This means thoroughly understanding what you are getting into, spending the proper time evaluating your options and the vendors you are about to partner with and most importantly, detailing what is to be delivered.

In the next article, we will discuss tips on the best approach to evaluating potential solutions to ensure that your needs are being met. 

 

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