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Steps To Simplify AP Processes

by Sophia Riley

October 3, 2023

Is your accounts payable crew swamped beneath a heap of papers? Are they occupied to the point where you need more employees to handle the load? If this is the state at your company, it’s growing faster than your present AP methods can handle. 

Streamlining AP processes can help you solve this problem, giving you less hassles and better sailing. With a simplified AP process, your team won’t have to sift through mountains of paperwork. They’ll glide through tasks more effectively and save some time to focus on the nitty-gritty that matters.

And there’s more. Simplifying your accounts payable processes will help you minimize errors. Mistakes can be quite expensive to fix, especially if they’re serious. Thankfully, simplified AP processes can help you overcome these financial fiascos and keep your wallet happier. The more simplified your processes are, the higher the morale of your employees. Keep reading to learn the steps for simplifying AP processes. 

Take Inventory

It’s important to examine how long your staff takes to handle AP processes. If they’re wasting time wrestling with AP, it’s time to take inventory of your current methods. 

When you take stock of what’s happening, you’ll uncover the tiny parts that make up the process. You’ll see where things might be getting tangled up or lost. With this insight, you can tweak and tailor the processes to make them faster — but that’s not all.

Taking inventory will enable you to spot the differences in how your employees do the same job. You can share the tricks that work with others to improve efficiency. Essentially, taking inventory isn’t just some extra task on your to-do list. It’s a passport to success. Digging into the processes, measuring time, and spotting the differences will help you revamp your finances. 

Standardize AP Processes

Observe how the employees handling your accounts payable (AP) go about their work. Pay attention to how long it takes them to handle invoices and the steps they follow. You can greatly improve your accounts payable system by creating consistent methods that everyone on your team can use.

Establishing uniform procedures can also make your processes more efficient. When your team follows the same steps for handling invoices, there will be less confusion and errors. This can save time and improve the accuracy of your financial records. 

Without standardized accounts payable processes, you might encounter several challenges. Firstly, consistency in how invoices are processed can lead to data entry and record-keeping mistakes. This can result in financial discrepancies and potential problems during audits. Secondly, if employees have their ways of handling invoices, it can be challenging to track the status of payments or identify bottlenecks in the process. A lack of visibility will lead to payment delays and strained vendor relationships. 

To address these challenges, implementing standardized procedures is crucial. Begin by documenting a clear step-by-step process for handling invoices, from receipt to payment. Provide training to your AP staff to ensure they understand and follow these procedures, and regularly review and update them to adapt to changes in your organization or industry practices. Doing this will enhance your AP processes’ efficiency, accuracy, and transparency and promote better financial management. 

Embrace Digitization

Shifting your workplace into the digital space comes with several advantages. One of the most significant is the reduction of paper usage. Going paperless benefits not only the environment but also your peace of mind. 

Using paper presents a range of drawbacks for businesses. These include:

Loss and damage: Critical documents like invoices are susceptible to getting lost, misplaced, or even damaged when handled on paper.

Cost: Printing out paper documents can be expensive. You’ll incur costs for paper, ink, and printing equipment maintenance.

Space constraints: Storing archived paper documents can lead to space-related challenges. They’re likely to crowd your office and make retrieval difficult.

Security concerns: Sensitive information can be vulnerable when stored on paper. It can be easily stolen or accessed by unauthorized individuals.

Digital solutions can help you to avoid these problems. Adopting an ERP system will enable you to perform paper-heavy tasks digitally. Such tasks include receiving and approving electronic invoices and securely archiving paid documents. Furthermore, digitization can boost teamwork among colleagues. Through online document sharing, your employees will have real-time communication and better productivity. 

Get Rid Of Manual Data Entry

Entering data manually can be stressful. Let’s face it: human fingers aren’t always the most accurate typists. Typos and misentries can sneak into your records, leading to confusion. Fortunately, a modern solution can save you from this old-fashioned practice – optical character recognition. This technology can instantly spot and grab data from scanned documents or electronic files. With OCR, you’ll spend less time entering data. The cherry on top? It’s not just your budget that will benefit, but your employees will be happy too.

Store Records Properly

Locating documents in physical storage locations can be quite challenging and time-consuming. You may spend more time searching for the documents, especially if they’re kept in a large room. Making room for extra stacks may also be difficult. 

Thankfully, with the help of an ERP system, you can stash away your documents in digital form. When you need them, they’re just a click away. Cloud storage for your business records will add a layer of convenience as your employees can get them from wherever they are.

Invest In An AP Automation Software

Old methods slow down whole processes. Waiting for approvals and hunting down records can add up and hurt your company’s efficiency. If you want to modernize your workspace and make your accounts payable tasks smoother, you should include AP automation in your strategy. There are software options out there that are designed to do just that. These systems take care of repetitive, time-consuming tasks and help you focus on things that bring real value, making dealing with invoice info way more efficient thanks to the ability to snag, check, and tuck away data in a digital archive.