Recent research by Ardent Partners—Research with Results—reveals that more than half of AP teams surveyed are under the impression that they are “exceptionally valuable” or “very valuable” to their respective companies. That’s good news! AP departments have historically been the quintessential back office function, bogged down with manual processes and leaving no time for creativity or to perform more value-added tasks.
And it is in alignment with the Institute of Finance and Management’s (IOFM’s) 2018 Future of Accounts Payable Survey that tells us that an eye-popping 84 percent of AP practitioners are optimistic about the progress their department will make over the next three years in eliminating paper processes by automating.
Ardent also predicts that the AP function will evolve over the next two years into one that is highly collaborative, fully automated, an intelligence hub, and inspiring an innovative-ready culture.
So, what is necessary to drive AP to the next level?
Successful AP departments practice these 5 HABITS:
- Assess AP operations on a regular basis for efficiency and accuracy
- Collaborate with finance, procurement, IT, and cross functional business units to gain collaborative buy-in
- Plan for the short- and long-term future needs of AP
- Validate success via measurement of key performance metrics (KPIs) and continually strive to improve them
- Communicate the strategic value of AP across the broader organization
To achieve AP success, Ardent recommends implementing these strategies:
- Invest in cloud SaaS technology (like Yooz!) to automate core processes
- Go beyond basic collaboration and strive for total alignment
- Develop a short- and long-term roadmap (plan) for aligning AP with the digital goals of the greater enterprise
- Develop a data-driven culture and make accounts payable a hub of information
- Identify key performance metrics and improve upon them on a regular basis
- Create a data-driven culture that values objective analysis
- Improve organizational intelligence by retaining more staff and upskilling
This blog is based on the webinar The State of ePayables: 5 Habits of Highly Effective AP Departments, underwritten by Ardent Partners and hosted by Bob Cohen, Ardent Partners Research Director. Available on demand.