Building a Case for AP Automation

Each year, North American businesses spend about $187 billion on accounts payable (AP) processing. Innovative financial management tools that come with lower costs and bigger payoffs are on the rise. Top companies are adopting AP automations to streamline processes, increase efficiency, and decision making for almost 70% less than average processing costs.
Here are some tips on how to build a business case for it to convince your organization that it is a must have for leaders and teammates.

You should promote AP automation as a solution for the finance department’s problems. Remember that your teammates and leaders share the same overall business goals, just different strategies. Your finance team likely speaks numbers, so here are a few high-level points to share.

  • Discuss the cost to process a single invoice, focusing on manual processes that waste valuable time and payroll dollars.
  • Point out positive effects of automated solutions that allow AP managers and specialists to handle more important tasks.
  • Automation will allow the executive team to focus on making decisions rather than only crunching numbers

When preparing to pitch AP automation, keep both hard and soft costs in mind. Your exec team wants hard dollar savings that are easy to identify and quantify. Start the conversation with industry statistics. Be sure to have a clear understanding of your current costs and unique processes. Hear a several questions to consider:

  • What are your current invoice and payment processing costs?
  • How long does it take to approve a single invoice?
  • How many people are approving an invoice?
  • How much does it cost to process a single payment?
  • How many invoices are processed monthly?

Use a ROI calculator to get quantitative date quickly. The will show savings, but it should not be the only resource you use. Create a spreadsheet to show your costs, including number of employees, hours, and spend.

In addition to cost savings, share other benefits that AP automation offers. The two biggest benefits are control and scalability. With automation, you will always be able to track current and past invoices and payments. Greater visibility means better controlled finances. As your company grows, scalability will be manageable.

With a substantial investment on the line, it is necessary to address all concerns when considering AP automation. According to Paystream Advisors 2018 Payables Insight Report, 36% of organizations are not investing in payment automation solutions due to lack of budget. About 21% of companies are content with their current processes.

Some organizations have a lack of understanding the solutions that are available and fear they have a low ROI. Therefore it is critical to communicate how AP automation saves Sage Intacct users from fraud, employee burnout, and manual mistakes. Here are some common concerns:

  • Why now? Manual processes are repetitive, inefficient, and waste payroll. Years of employing these methods add up to cash that could be spent elsewhere. While there is somewhat of a learning curve, employees embrace automation as something they cannot live without.
  • Why fix what’s not broken? Manual AP processes can increase fraud risks. AP automation streamlines invoicing, fraud detection, and payment disbursement for each payment.
  • How long until we see results? Most companies notice immediate improvements including time and money savings.

Sage Intacct users will continue to reap the benefits of automaton, including robust reporting and processes that automatically adhere to compliance. Team morale may also improve as they realize you have invested in quality technology that improves their lives.

Content originally from Sage Intacct.

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