I am starting a new series that reflects on the things I wish I would have known before beginning AP Automation projects. This attitude comes from lessons I’ve learned that now seem so obvious. My hope is that my AP automation advice will be your catalyst to avoid the mistakes I’ve made.

Time

Successful AP Automation projects can be judged by how much time they free up. When I am speaking live, I always like to use an example outside of accounting. I normally use the auto industry. In the mid-80s Detroit decided it was time to automate its production lines. The big complaints came from workers that did not believe that a robot would be able to do the same job they could do. As it turns out, there were many jobs that robotics could do. The downside to the workers is a lot of them lost their jobs. Automation has a tendency to do that with larger companies.

Middle Market Projects

Just about all of my experience comes from the middle market. You know, those companies that have revenue from $5M – $1B annually. Unlike large companies, mid-size companies don’t have the ability to do mass layoffs when automating Accounts Payable. Better yet, they don’t want to do mass layoffs because the people are very valuable to their organization, and they things other than just managing invoices.

Time Allocation

If Accounts Payable Automation is only as good as the time that is freed up, that time has to go somewhere. This is the thing I wish I would have known early in my career. Here is an example: if you have an accounting person that spends 50% (1040 hours a year) of their time entering invoices into the accounting system, that time will need to be allocated to another task. Here is the rub. In order for AP Automation to work…really work, the new task the person does has to be more impactful to the organization than data entry. If you shift a data entry person to filing, then there is no real need to automate. If you shift that person from data entry to contract negotiation or to capturing vendor discounts, then you have a very powerful message that you are using automation for the betterment of the company.

I Wish

Understanding and ultimately teaching on the idea of time allocation and making sure the tasks are more important to the company took me time to realize. I wish I would have known it earlier, but my loss is your gain. I hope you enjoyed my AP automation advice.

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About AvidXchange

AvidXchange is an industry-leading, SaaS based AP and Payment Automation solution provider located in Charlotte, NC. AvidXchange has been helping companies eliminate 100% of paper invoices and paper checks from their AP process since 2000 creating more efficient and scalable processes for their customers.  AvidXchange is integrated with Dynamics AX, GP, SL, and NAV.

See why over 450 companies chose AvidXchange to automate their AP process.

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