The ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first people to make New Year’s resolutions, some 4,000 years ago. They were also the first to hold recorded celebrations in honor of the new year, although for them the year began in mid-March, when the crops were planted. A similar practice occurred in ancient Rome, after Emperor Julius Caesar established January 1 as the beginning of the new year. Named for Janus, the god of beginnings and endings, January had special significance for the Romans. Believing that Janus looked backwards into the previous year and ahead into the future, the Romans offered sacrifices to the deity and made promises of good conduct for the coming year.
At the end of the Great Depression, a quarter of Americans formed New Year’s resolutions. Today, over 40% of Americans resolve to better themselves in some way every January. Whether it’s a lifestyle change like exercising more and eating healthier, or a career change, we all look for ways to improve the quality of our life. But what about your company’s accounts payable department? Do they make New Year’s resolutions? Sure, there’s goals to hit and bottom lines to meet, but how can you improve your account payable team’s quality of life?
The answer, of course, is to implement AP and payment automation within your organization! In today’s blog, we’ll look at some New Year’s resolutions your company can make and how AP automation can help you stick to them!
1) Increase Security / Have More Control
Automation gives you full visibility into your processes by digitizing all invoices and payments. You know when invoices come in, which balances are outstanding, when payments are due, and which approvers haven’t signed off yet. You can add additional approvals to the process with ease and create fraud monitoring reports that check for duplicate invoices. You can track who enters the invoice, who approves it, and who batches it to the accounting system – and it can’t be the same person for each task.
2) Increase Efficiency / Streamline Workflows
With automation, you can easily eliminate repetitive and time-consuming tasks like opening and sorting invoices, manual data entry, and waiting for interoffice mail or overnight courier for approvals. Think of all the things you could accomplish if you weren’t busy copying and scanning files to archives searching for lost or misplaced invoices, and fielding inquiry calls!
With the time savings they achieve with automation, many AP departments turn their attention to higher-level tasks like early vendor discounts and rebate procurement. By partnering with an automation solution provider that offers electronic payment methods, companies can pay their vendors faster, reduce processing costs, and generate revenue for their company. Which brings us to the final resolution…
3) Save Money!
Companies can reduce their AP and payment processing costs up to 60% with automation, eliminating all of the manual tasks associated with paper invoices and checks in the process. Research by PayStream Advisors shows that the average cost to process a transaction is 44 percent higher when conducted manually rather than through an automated system.
According to the Aberdeen Research 2010 Payables Report, companies are paying – on average – more than $22 to process and pay one invoice. The same report states that many companies are cutting their processing costs in half by automating their accounts payable processes. Late-payment fees are also avoided thanks to reduced routing and approval times. The industry average for routing and approval is 28 days. With AP automation, many companies are seeing a turn-around of 2-3 days.
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Interested in learning more about AP automation? In our Tech Savvy Buyer’s Guide to AP Automation For Finance Professionals eBook, you’ll learn about how automating your AP and payment processes means eliminating paper invoices and checks from your organization while increasing fraud protection and reducing your processing costs by more than half along the way. To download your copy, click below!