Most business professionals that have to deal with financials know how tedious it can be sorting through piles of paper searching for the right invoice. Not only is this approach error-prone, but it can also be slow and open the business up to fraud. Even with digital record-keeping, manual data entry has its own slew of problems. Think Automation underlines several reasons why data entry is so inefficient. Luckily, solutions exist to address these shortcomings. Accounts Payable (AP) Automation is a concise way to avoid going through this slow and mind-numbing process. The core of this system focuses on the Dashboard and Analytics. These elements allow businesses to see, at a glance, what’s going on with their business.
A Look at the Dashboard
The dashboard on an AP Automation suite allows businesses to get access to automation tools at their fingertips. Processes such as inventory updates and workflow can be automated using rules within the system. Additionally, invoices can be quickly reported to keep track of revenue. AP software, such as ARISTAXPRESS and NetSuite, offer their own benefits from the dashboard. They support electronic invoicing and automatically capture the data within invoices to update the system seamlessly.
The dashboard is a powerful resource for businesses since it allows them to have a single point of control for their automation processes. Depending on a particular business’s automation needs, a company can choose what to automate and what to keep as manual. The overall goal would be to ensure full Automation, but there will always be a need for a manual check on automation processes. Audits can be done directly from the dashboard as well. However, as useful as the dashboard is, its real power lies in leveraging an AP Automation suite’s analytics engine.
Why Analytics Is So Important
Forbes notes that as many as 59% of all enterprises utilize analytics in some capability. Analytics serve as the inputs for making relevant decisions that may impact the business significantly. Analytics engines are crucial to improving efficiency within a system. Accounts payable functionality runs into several challenges, including:
- Managing strict cash-flow while keeping suppliers satisfied
- Assessing the performance of the AP system
- Evaluating the transaction volumes and how it impacts the AP process as a whole
- Improving vendor relationships regarding payments and deliveries
- Projecting values for cash-flow planning
AP Automation analytics can give real-time insight into a business’s processes, unlike anything else. By asking the right questions, management can garner answers to improve their system immensely. Among the core benefits that AP Automation analytics can offer a business are:
- Helping to give the business an idea of their current payments. Companies can look at efficiency in delivery and reward the best vendors with more investment. Alternatively, the business can also determine which vendors are less efficient and find alternatives to their service. The business’s efficiency stands to improve significantly if it can improve the efficiency of its supply chain.
- Manage cash flow and develop predictive models that allow the business to leverage payments when needed and have enough of a float to withstand unexpected circumstances. Management can get an immediate overview of outstanding items from vendors and overdue payments from clients, allowing them to manage how revenue is spent more effectively. These insights can be priceless for the financial department to deal with budgets for individual sectors of the enterprise.
- Overall averages can be produced on-demand to understand where the largest deficit in the company’s finances is coming from. Clients can immediately be compared by their Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) to determine which are least stable in their payments. Management can evaluate what funds they have on hand and how they can manage the company’s obligations over the next payment cycle using this income.
- The AP workflow process can continually be improved through careful examination of each cycle’s analytics. Management can also look at the relationship between delayed and on-time payment. Vendors that accept longer lead-times for payment can be pinpointed, and if the business needs leeway, they know which suppliers are the best for this purpose.
AP Automation Improves a Business’s Reputation
Overall, both customers and vendors start to see a business in a better light once their AP processes are improved. Companies don’t need to worry about missing invoices and having creditors showing up months later demanding payment. Analytics allows businesses to be smarter with their liquid assets and improve the workflow of their AP processes. If you’re ready to explore what AP Automation can do for you, and how dedicated services such as ARISTAXPRESS or NetSuite can improve your operational efficiency, please contact us today!