As we quickly approach the holidays and the end of another year, the last thing your accounts payable team wants is to be working overtime, so why not reduce overtime hours with AP automation?
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has taken hold, many AP teams have been working remotely, or working in some sort of hybrid environment. We knew then that AP teams would have a difficult time carrying out their responsibilities, as many processes that sit outside an ERP or financial system still require human intervention, creating more stress, added time and overtime hours.
In a recent IOFM study, the pandemic has put pressure on the AP workforce due to voluntary exits, and team reductions which has resulted in AP staff working overtime, with many working 50+ hours a week. Overtime hours can have a serious impact on your business, and can show in various ways.
- Fatigue– Fatigue often sets in, where employees are too exhausted to perform tasks to the best of their ability.
- Work Rate– As more time is provided to complete a task, the productivity rate decreases.
- Increased Absences– Overtime can lead to more absences as team members experience poor health, added stress and fatigue, putting more stress on the team. This increase in absences can also lead to morale problems which can result in high turnover.
What is the solution? How can you arm your AP team with the tools they need to reduce overtime hours, all while upholding the health of your team to avoid further affects on your business? The solution: Accounts Payable Automation.
Here are the ways that AP automation can help reduce overtime hours.
- Remove Paper– So much time is spent by AP team members looking for invoices in filing cabinets and physical storage, creating a kink in their workflow and slowing them down. Suppliers should be encouraged to send invoices electronically, to allow businesses to reduce cost, increase visibility of invoices towards payment, as well as reducing queries and less errors all while eliminating data entry.
- Centralise Data- By providing a central access point for invoice data, you can improve your cash flow forecasting, while also avoiding urgent requests for payments on invoices that have been delayed or scattered across departments.
- Automate the Approval Process– When it comes to approvals that are paper based, the approval time is significantly slower, than those that are approved electronically. AP teams spend a lot of time tracking down approvals manually, seeking out the correct approver to move things along. With AP automation, specific work flows can be set up to ensure that approvals are automatically routed to the appropriate person, to have them take action right away and eliminate the guesswork that comes with manual approvals.
- Accurate Matching– With automated invoice matching, AP teams can conduct price checks, and inventory or service matching electronically, without manual intervention. If discrepancies are discovered, the invoices can then be routed for manual approval. If the matching process is successful, it eliminates the need to check invoices manually, speeding up the matching process significantly. This process also gives staff more time to focus on invoices where automated match is not possible, allowing them to engage with staff giving suppliers a faster solution.
- Supplier Portal- Supplying suppliers with an online portal to view the progress of their invoices can reduce the time your AP team spends on the phone, and conducting follow ups internally.
- Customer Service– queries on specific invoices can be raised online vs over the phone, which can be routed electronically to suppliers automatically. This enables your AP team to process invoice queries in a timely manner, once again reducing wasted time and dealing with any hiccups quickly.
For many businesses the end of the year is their busiest and asking your teams to put in more hours whether directly or indirectly can deeply impact your business, so why not look ahead to the future and adopt an AP automated solution. Don’t let your team and business suffer at the hands of overtime hours.
If you are looking for more ways to improve your AP process book a meeting with us.