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How to Create a More Efficient AP Department and Workflow

Keeping up with the avalanche of invoices and the inevitable payments that come with them is hard enough with a solid AP process. And while your team may be crushing it with their invoice-to-pay process, are there areas where they could become a more efficient AP department? Is there a way for them to produce the same output, if not more, while clearing a little space on their plate?

Below we’ve detailed four ways you can create a more efficient AP department and workflow. Let’s explore.

1. IDENTIFY ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Everyone should understand the role they have to play when an invoice comes in and prompt payment is required. This system helps your team stay efficient, holds each member accountable, and offers a layer of quality control in addition to workflow visibility. Adopting this method will allow you to check the status of a particular workflow and identify any holdups to keep the process running smoothly.

2. SIMPLIFY AND STANDARDIZE

Processing invoices and ensuring payments are secure and timely can quickly become overwhelming if you don’t have a standardized system. The key is to keep it simple, make it repeatable, and set up reminders to ensure timely payments.

The system should run like clockwork and your team shouldn’t have to think twice about it, just check off each component of the process as it’s completed. Simplifying and standardizing your process and breaking it down into smaller, more digestible pieces for your team will reduce errors and streamline the process, ensuring consistency and improved accuracy.

3. KEEP CONTACT INFORMATION CURRENT AND ARCHIVE YOUR DATA

Don’t let your records get out of date, keep them clean and current. Make sure you track and review invoices, purchase orders, receipts, vendor/supplier notices, and other important information to ensure payment accuracy. 

If you make this upkeep part of your team’s everyday tasks, you won’t have a growing monster on your hands. Update your records right as you receive new data and do your best to keep your team on top of it.

4. AUTOMATE. AUTOMATE. AUTOMATE.

Automating your AP process is another great option for creating a more efficient workflow. It eliminates time consuming, paper-based AP tasks so you can process invoices faster and reduce supply and labor costs. Automating also allows you to accept online invoices, pay them electronically using a method that works best for your company, and keep real-time records of transactions and supplier data. 

Not to mention, automating your workflow has been proven to reduce errors by 50%! That’s a whole lot of time and money back in your company’s pocket.

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