Does your purchasing & accounts payable process work?
October 02, 2020

Most businesses can confidently say that their accounts payable process “works”. The invoices get collected, collated, coded, approved and posted into the accounting/ERP application.

From there, the vendors get paid, statutory returns made, and management accounts and cashflow reports produced.

But how well does your process really work in today’s environment? What are you missing out on? And can your accounts payable process be improved? 

When compared to today’s global digital logistic distribution networks,  a manual accounts payable process works as well as a horse and cart for the transportation of goods. That is a simple fact. Yes, it works, but it is also a very long way from being the best way of working.

Improve Accounts Payable Process

So why does that matter? For most businesses, the $ value of general overhead spend (excluding purchases for stock, manufacturing, distribution and retail) is very small in the bigger corporate picture, even strategically unimportant, which is usually why it has remained unchanged for centuries. 

Improving your accounts payable process with invoice automation

The accounts payable function is also clogged up with processing the high volume of low-value invoices from dozens or hundreds of different vendors. This includes having to deal with all of the queries, vendor credit control calls, “lost” and duplicate invoices and the never-ending cycle of chasing people for their approvals. Accounts payable is an essential process, but why do we spend so much time, money and effort on something that is not strategically important (using the equivalent of the horse and cart) when there is a far better, faster, more robust and more visible alternative? 

(Find out more about accounts payable invoice automation by reading this blog)

Looking at general overhead spend (often referred to as “tail-end spend”), in the ideal world this would be a simple, fast and convenient experience for everyone involved; the people that raise the orders, approve them, capture and code the invoice,  approve the invoice and finally post the invoice to the accounting/ERP application and file the paper copy.

With the tools and marketplaces that exist today, how easy could this be? Here is the solution: simply buy more using Amazon Business.

We all know just how good the online buying experience is and how easy it is to find “best value” by balancing quality, price and availability, but what you may not know is, on average, you will save 32% against what you are paying your existing suppliers.

In terms of accounts payable invoice automation, by fully integrating online purchasing directly into the accounts payable automation application, which in turn is fully integrated into your existing accounting/ERP application, you change everything:

  1. Finance now have total control over every order before it is digitally placed through simple approval processes. 
  2. Invoices are automatically digitally captured and matched against the order with zero touch. The invoice coding can then be done manually or automated before they are automatically sent to the order originator to confirm receipt. 
  3. On final approval, the invoice is posted directly to your existing accounting/ERP application (with no requirement to generate and file a paper copy).

What does this mean for your business?

To put it another way, accounts payable automation and integrated online buying together allow you to: 

  • Take control over your spend to conserve cash, 
  • Control  every order before it is placed, 
  • Reduce the cost of what you buy by an average of 32% 
  • and increase productivity by 65-90%, giving everyone who works on this administrative task more time to focus on more important and valuable work.

How hard is this to achieve? Well, most businesses will go live with accounts payable invoice automation and online buying in a single day and by purchasing more via Amazon Business, the savings you will make will usually deliver a positive cash ROI in the first month.

Accounts Payable automation with fully integrated online buying from Amazon Business is a simple step that will drastically improve your accounts payable. It will delight everyone outside the finance department, deliver total visibility and process control for everyone inside it, and put the “horse” out to pasture.

In terms of what then becomes possible, you have started your journey to full digital procurement. You can find out more about what that means for your business by clicking the link below.