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A Guide to AP Automation: Best Practices and Expert Recommendations

Bringing an accounts payable (AP) conversion project to a satisfactory conclusion can be a simple and gratifying task.

The AP team must exhibit powerful, proactive command, as with any successful endeavor, and there must be a considerable threshold of preparedness, dedication, and cooperation from multiple organizational stakeholders. Such work is worthwhile considering the total productivity, insight, and economic advantages that an effective AP automation project may bring.

Here are some tips for digitizing accounts payable, including what helps and doesn’t. Let’s examine a few expert suggestions and best practices for making the most use of your approach.

Analyze the AP Operations’ Existing Situation

The installation of AP automation should focus on solving the existing AP problems. For instance, a core competency that needs access to additional information may perform numerous procedures simultaneously. Understanding your present system and how it might improve from automating would allow you to fully analyze business terrain since, using AP automation, both operations and datasets are accessible and computerized.

Before implementing, look for easy results by considering present constraints and company objectives.

Select the Best AP Automation Service

When weighing your options, consider the following points:

AP automation objectives

Do you want to cut down on data input, system administration dashboards, or benefit from early-pay price reductions? For example, automatic invoicing collection, powerful accounting software, and data management are important aspects to check for when choosing a solution. Be aware that not every AP automation system provides complete automation; instead, they use external AP centers to manually encode your accounts, which slows down the procedure and increases the likelihood of mistakes.

A careful price comparison

Think about the cost and characteristics which each system promises while thoroughly examining costs. The least expensive option could include restrictions on access to essential services like assistance or data management and monthly invoicing. You may take the necessary procedures to receive a draft agreement ensuring that both the source and you know the cost that would be most suitable.

Functions that minimize theft

Make sure the option you select decreases your chances of malpractices by facilitating cooperation and limiting exposure to private data via integrated internal command systems for accounts payable. Such is the strategy to stop damages inside your private business from exceeding the reported $7 billion companies suffer from fraud each year.

Opt for future-proof technology 

Both today, and then in the hereafter, the ideal approach should be effective. What would take place if you processed 25% more payments than usual? Does the technology you chose continue to work, or do you need to move to a different model? If companies transfer ERPs, would the AP automation system still operate? Then again, certain AP automated processes prioritize transactions above invoicing. To determine whether the benefits outweigh the costs of the company’s demands, evaluate the service’s existing and anticipated focuses.

Step-wise Automation

The accounts payable system has several aspects that should be digitized, but you must be mindful of picking the appropriate automation procedures to implement. One may conserve funds and labor by evaluating the related parts of your AP workflow where such automation is needed and by adopting them appropriately in a stepwise method. Additionally, rather than tackling the process thoughtlessly, you can entirely establish one specific part, like the switch to online invoices and e-payments, fewer physical records, performance strategies, etc.

Additionally, assigning your workers to many automated duties at once may confuse them. When introducing the employees to relatively new automation techniques, let them become comfortable with a certain number of automated operations. By doing this, it is ensured that there will be zero confusion among the staff, and so the transfer will go smoothly. 

Activate Auto-saving Processes

Even though automated processes conserve time at work, manual input is still necessary at some stages. Enabling auto-saving and auto-login might help users spare time and be quite convenient. Users may additionally use advanced automation techniques to ensure that all material is securely recorded and that all pertinent business papers are continuously transferred into the network through digital information storage solutions.

Integration of document management automation tools like Active Directory, SAML, etc., seems to be another stride to boost the model’s performance. One might also consider adopting single sign-on (SSO) to let users safely yet automatically authenticate themselves with their passwords. These technologies would offer a great way to cut down on delays and guarantee that the required outcomes quickly.


Accounts If the other processes are not automated, payable automation alone may not be of much use. This applies to all supporting platforms, customer support, and clients or providers. Therefore, it’s essential to design any additional systems and ensure they give digital files for simple entry into another automated AP network. Enterprise resource planning (ERP), order fulfillment, and other related monetary systems are a few areas where it may be helpful.

For suppliers, most AP software enables the creation of provider-accessible gateways to support self-service. By incorporating this into your network, companies will save time because they can quickly track the progress of their accounts and find explanations to frequently asked questions via the site directly. To achieve end-to-end automation and maximize profits, it is crucial to integrate the secondary processes.

Best Practices For AP Automation Implementation

To save you time and effort, we’ve put together a selection of the best practices for accounts payable automation that you should use to keep it functional and productive.

1. Get Your Staff Involved

When you bring automation techniques into a company, little opposition is unavoidable. However, each respondent of the financial team must support and be a dedicated participant in the program for the automated approach to be fruitful. Most imposed change initiatives risk negating any potential advantages of the automated procedures. Therefore, it is wise to discuss with staff members and let them see how it will simplify their lives.

Try to notice any challenges that may arise within your team with such automated systems and try taking prompt, decisive action to address the problems. By recording such concerns and comments, you can fully understand the integral aspects that need to be prioritized to solve the users’ genuine difficulties. When the automated process has been implemented, make sure to conduct periodic inspections of the system and adjust it as necessary for successful outcomes.

2. Appoint A Program Manager To Oversee The Workflow

It might be challenging to switch from manual to automated accounts payable processes. Therefore, it is essential to have a committed individual who serves as the key point of access for every one of the software company’s operations. The individual will be in charge of streamlining the automated processes and keeping lines of communication open with all organizational stakeholders to guarantee that any potential problems are fixed immediately.

In addition to keeping an eye on and optimizing operations, a project manager may also be entrusted with creating periodic reports and strategies to enhance the framework so that it may be adjusted to retain the best capacity in all different situations. Since automation is a computer methodology, upgrading the mechanism in real life seems to be the only way to maintain consistency in consistency and control. The project manager is indispensable in this regard.

3. Make Sure Learners Receive Expert Instructions

Even though automation calls for little to no user interference, the operations still need human oversight and knowledge. Untrained staff members could cause substantial expenditures due to system impairment, delays, or malfunctions if they are not knowledgeable as to how the mechanism operates. Therefore, it’s necessary to ensure that the appropriate workers receive competent training using automation technologies.

Additionally, real-time statistics and recommendations are available at the flick of a switch from automation software. To extract the maximum power of the automated systems, it is essential to keep the team informed with these real-time statistics and modify the system in response to feedback. Always keep an eye on such information and use it for learning.

4. Establish Specialized Processes

Once there is a defined procedural strategy that assigns every worker a particular role, the automation approach can run as efficiently as possible. This assures that there are no misunderstandings and that the staff can function effectively without any interpersonal issues, especially when there are pressing schedules. Additionally, workers may become capable of handling additional work without degrading the performance and production values.

Each staff member has a specific role, making it difficult for them to avoid their duties. They can also be made responsible for the job they were assigned. A defined role also ensures that someone will be held accountable and enables you to prod that person to do the task immediately. 

The Takeaway

To increase system performance and accuracy, the automation process substitutes robots for labor-intensive human tasks. Yet, if the shift to automated processes is not supported by a transformation in the linked elements, such as educated staff, software integration, and digital accounting, it is difficult to be sustainable. It is critical to note that these procedures require the best practices to ensure smooth operation.

January 19, 2023