05.16.14 |
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Where Will Payables Automation Lead Us?

The following is a guest post from Jimmy LeFever, Research Manager at Paystream.

We always look for alignment of leadership, with a core question being “Is there a synergy and common vision between purchasing and payables?” Increasingly, we see “purchase-to-pay” as part of today’s dialog, but not always in organizational structure. Many procure-to-pay tools are available, but they may require a change in thinking to bring these two stratified departments together into an integrated operation.

Companies often have to dig deep to determine the value each organization is bringing and what their core role is — namely, how roles shift with a change in technology.

If we automate something, then we may need the same level of business process review because we are now counting on systems and processes that are backed into the technology. Controlling risk associated with errors, for instance, can be largely automated with alerts and reporting.

That’s the exciting part of purchase-to-pay. Obviously, there’s a shift away from manual work and data entry, and we see reluctance in some managers to do that. We also see others who are trying to rapidly shift their departments from transactional to analytic.

The management of payments and the keying and routing of invoices can take between forty to sixty percent of an Accounts Payable Specialist’s time, according to PayStream AP Benchmarking Statistics. Controllers  and finance managers want to make these team members valuable analytical resources who can do other things in their finance organization — things that may not even be part of accounts payable or procurement as they exist today.

As our economy improves, it can be hard to find good resources to manage manual, transactional work. Gen-Y and Millennials are generally not interested in those types of roles. These are the workers who grew up with technology in their hands from the cradle, and they often do not want manual, data-entry jobs. Millennials also often need the constant feedback that the Internet and social networks have fostered.

Today’s financial automation solutions can provide precisely that — instantaneous reporting and analytics.

So the question isn’t “Am I going to lose some of my key people to automation?” It’s, “When my key people retire, how will I attract new talent?” Furthermore, AP Managers who implement automated solutions may be in a better position to keep their current workforce and enable them to do what they should be doing — adding value to the organization.



This guest authored post was provided by Jimmy LeFever of PayStream. ADP compensated PayStream for this post.


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