Neil Robertson Jul 11, 2022 9:12:00 AM 9 min read

How to reduce costs with AP automation & digital payments

Every business is being squeezed by increasing costs driven by inflation, payroll pressures & broken supply chains. Digital payment applications help to keep pace with these changing times while eliminating overhead & cost to businesses, saving them money.

Rather than simply pulling the usual basic financial levers of headcount freezes, CapEx bans, reduced purchasing & stretched supplier payments (again), smart CFO’s can now take an alternative strategic path to control & reduce costs.

Here is how they are doing it:

Automating the purchase invoice capture & AP process

This takes as little as a couple of hours to go live for a small business, but can be scaled all the way through global, multi-entity, companies with thousands of staff in multiple languages.

Most modern AP Automation solutions only charge you for what you use (generally per-transaction), so you end up with the most cost-effective process.

If you’ve already done this, good. It’s a great start, but the best is yet to come…

Buying everything direct online from your vendor’s website

This brings two groups of benefits:

Financial visibility & control

Successful purchase automation projects let you:

Control every purchase before it is made & remove almost all the work to diligently account for it.

The future of online purchasing is global, seamless & secure. Choosing an integrated digital purchase & payment experience that lets you buy from any online vendor creates simplicity when integrated into your digital wallets.

Capture every approved online purchase at the moment it happens, generating a single digital version of the truth, using the vendor details to guarantee a perfectly automated purchase order, receipt & invoice match - every time.

Review real time commitment, accrual & expensed cost reports for more accurate management accounts & cashflow projections – & faster month end closes.

Delight all of your budget holders / project managers by automating their budget management processes, using their spend analysis structure / terminology to report on the past, present, & projected future spend.

Online stores reduce costs, minimize risks, & open you up to the entire world of customers who would have otherwise never had access to your products & services - just pick, ship, & bill.

The Buying Experience for the business

Make automated purchasing easy, quick, & convenient - all while you:

Delight all of your staff involved in the purchasing process by enabling them to buy online, making it easy to track the status of each purchase – approved or denied.

Use powerful, but simple automated purchase approvals processes from any device.

Check out Amazon Business & Compleat “punch-in”  experience & enjoy the ultimate in true digital purchasing - this is the future!

Add vendor websites as required – or consolidate who you use to simplify everything & drive down the costs you pay.

Then capture every order before it is placed.

Once you’ve mastered true integrated online buying, the fun can really begin…

Implement Digital Spend Management – Reduce Costs

Thanks to the digital purchase-to-pay process, it’s easier than ever to gather spend data for your company. You can use this aggregated spend data (& some other associated applications) to reduce costs.

Budget holders & project managers will love tools that let them ditch spreadsheets & simplify budget planning. Granular spend analytics can even help them spend smarter (find the best deals/most CO2 efficient suppliers).

Spend category management analysis can now be undertaken simply, by small/medium businesses, without the huge expense of accounting/procurement firms. In some instances, spend management specialists can be consulted, with costs taken as a share of savings, making the entire process practical & self-funding.

Once begun, this process keeps rolling around & around, never ending. Keep analyzing & optimizing spend, & don’t stop.

Carbon Emission Management

This is, understandably, a massive subject at the moment. The right tools make it easy for an organisation to maneuver & get right.

Over 80% of your corporate carbon footprint is directly inherited from what you buy, & from whom.

Carbon Tracking & Reporting tools enable you to start the practical process of understanding your true carbon footprint, & then systematically reduce it.

This helps the individual starting the purchasing process, they can now make a more informed decision between financial & carbon cost. Managers can then make the final decision before the spend happens.

The board of directors can clearly demonstrate their commitment to Carbon reduction to their employees, shareholders, & customers.

This is just the beginning; you can’t be blamed for not having this functionality as we are leading the way & you might not have met us yet!

Digital payments

Digital payments are the perfect end for a 100% digital purchasing experience between you & your vendor.

Purchase-to-Pay automation gives you the liberty of being able to choose whichever payment method you want; Quicker invoice processing will be able to introduce the possibility of early digital payment discounts making AP automation simpler & quicker to process.

Even just knowing what you’re committed spend is can help you to see your true cash flow. 

This is yet another way you can create time for your finance team.

Starting the journey to digital purchasing

We understand that every business is at a different stage of their development & one size does not fit all.

Our vision is to enable every business start at the beginning. A very small business may only need invoice capture, AP automation & Amazon Business “punch-in” , deployed & live in a couple of hours.

For larger businesses, Compleat offers the depth & breadth of functionality to enable each to take their own journey towards digital purchasing, becoming increasingly automated & spend smarter, more effectively & more sustainably.


Neil Robertson

Neil has a 39-year track record of building successful direct and channel global software businesses predominately in the financial software market place. Neil Robertson is Executive Chairman of Compleat Software. A 39-year veteran of the financial software marketplace, Neil has a long track record of building disruptive start-ups into successful businesses, including his time as CEO EMEA of Great Plains where he built the business outside of the USA from 1995 - 2001. Compleat is no exception and perhaps the most disruptive of them all.
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