Quadient SA

11/22/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/22/2023 18:14

A Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose Your Accounts Payable Automation Software

Shaun Jex | Wednesday, Nov 22nd 2023

Most businesses now recognize the need to build their tech stacks with solutions that address the problems of today, while futureproofing their operations against the challenges of tomorrow. Accounts payable automation softwarehas emerged as an essential purchase for many finance teams, with 70% of SMBsreporting an increase in productivity after investing in automation.

In the simplest terms, AP automation allows AP teams to eliminate many manual processes ― reducing the risk of error, saving money, and freeing up AP accountants to focus on higher-value activities. But the market is flooded with AP automation solutions ― all offering different combinations of features, benefits, and pricing plans. So how do you choose the AP automation software that's right for you?

In this buyers' guide, we'll help you work out what to look for in an AP automation solution, so you can make a well-informed decision. To start, let's consider the benefits the right software solution should offer.

The benefits of AP automation

There are numerous benefits to automating your AP processesshould you make the right software choice, including:

  • Increased efficiency: AP automation makes your entire workflow more efficient. For example, it can automatically route invoices to the right department for approval and easily initiate payment ― freeing employees to focus on more critical tasks.
  • Improved accuracy: Automation software significantly reduces the chance of manual data input errors, and can catch discrepancies and flag them for review before they occur.
  • Better cash flow management: Automated AP systems deliver greater visibility into your financial data, with an accurate, real-time report of your monthly accrual and visibility into your invoices as soon as they're received - helping you manage your cash flow more effectively.
  • Enhanced vendor relationships: Automating your AP processes can also help you process and pay invoices faster- improving your relationship with your suppliers and unlocking early-payment discounts.
  • Stronger security: AP automation software offers enhanced security, ensuring that only authorized users can access data and process payments ― minimizing your risk of fraud and data breaches.

How to choose an AP automation solution

There are many AP automation solutions available on the market. Some are aimed at the enterprise, while others are designed for small-to-medium businesses. You can spend a lot, or what seems like a little. You can opt for a broad range of automation features or focus on automating a specific area of your AP workflow. You must consider the ERP system you're using, the number of users who need access to the system, how many approvers you want to set up, whether you're a single or multi-entity company, and more.

So, what should you look for in an AP automation solution? Here are the key factors that should influence your decision.

It's feature rich

Features aren't everything, but they sure do count for a lot. Many entry-level AP automation solutions, and those designed for SMEs, lack the necessary feature richness required by larger or growing organizations. So, what's the solution? Finance teams should consider an AP automation solution that offers something of an al-a-carte menu, including:

  • Purchase order automation, featuring PO matching with customizable tolerances.
  • Invoice automation with multi-entity accounting functionality, via a single pane of glass.
  • Automated expense management
  • Payment automation, with unlimited approval workflows.

That way, you can ensure you aren't paying for features you don'tneed, and that you have access to all the features you do need.

It's scalable

One of the biggest challenges for finance teams considering AP automation is that there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, decision-makers should consider an AP automation solution capable of scaling with their business.

While an entry-level solution might suit a smaller business, businesses have a habit of growing and expanding. Your organization might add new business units, new locations, or even entirely new entities. That entry-level solution is unlikely to offer multi-entity accounting capabilities. And if you've developed new, more complex approval workflows, you'll need to pay to add more approvers ― if you can do so at all.

You need an AP automation solution that can:

  • Offer multi-entity accounting functionality across multiple ERPs
  • Handle new locations and entities from a single, centralized pane of glass
  • Deliver unlimited options for creating approval workflows, so any list imported from your ERP can be used for routing approvals
  • Simply add new approvers and approval workflows at no extra cost

It offers flexible, transparent pricing

The expression 'you get what you pay for' may be a cliché, but it's an accurate one when it comes to AP automation software. This is an industry where cheapness doesn't always equate to value.

Entry-level software solutions tend to be the cheapest on the market ― at least, they seem that way until you start adding users or approvers, looking to expand your storage levels or increase the number of invoices you process each month. With these solutions, the cost quickly spirals the second your company starts growing, or you try to tailor their solutions to your specific needs.

Look for an AP automation solution that offers transparent pricing and won't charge you for future growth. Preferably one that offers:

  • Unlimited users
  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited receipts
  • Unlimited approvers
  • Phone support available regardless of subscription

Choosing the right AP automation solution can set your organization for success both now and in the future. Book a demotoday to find out whether Quadient AP is the right choice for you.

Shaun JexFinancial Automation Content Specialist