Human Touchpoints Are Killing Productivity: Leverage Automation To Let Your Staff Focus on the Important Things

by Shan Haq

Accounts payable teams relying on paper-based workflows are at risk of wasted productivity. AP automation can streamline processes, increase efficiencies and increase productivity.

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Imagine what your accounts payable (AP) team could be doing if they didn’t have to spend so much time dealing with manual, tedious processes. 

When AP teams continue to rely on old-fashioned, paper-based workflows, they end up wasting a ton of time fixing invoices, searching for documents, manually approving payments, and answering queries from suppliers, among other things. While manual processes have worked for decades, they remain slow and expensive in today’s lean operations. 

The good news is that by adopting AP automation, you can help your team liberate significant chunks of time that they can then invest in more valuable projects to help your organization get to the next level. 

How does AP automation increase productivity? 

When you don’t have an automated AP department, you’re just not as efficient as your competitors. 

In the worst-case scenario, members of the AP team spend their time managing scanning or keying processes, which are time-consuming and error-prone. In the best-case scenario, AP is tasked with resolving discrepancies between an invoice and a purchase order or trying to address incomplete invoices or invoices that have errors by chasing down suppliers to try to figure out the issue. 

Either way, all of this takes time, and all of it is unnecessary if you have automated processes in place. 

Leading AP automation solutions enable you to achieve 100% straight-through processing while eliminating invoice exceptions with automatic two- and three-way matching. In other words, when invoices come in, the digital brains in the AP automation solution will verify them and fill in any missing information without human intervention.  

Additionally, leading solutions enable suppliers to check the status of their invoices in real time. Instead of calling your AP team to find out when they’re going to get paid, suppliers can self-serve this information at their own leisure and without any effort by your AP members. 

Add it all up, and AP automation increases productivity by giving your team considerable amounts of time back. As a result, they can spend more time on value-adding activities, such as devising an early payment discount strategy or spending time working on ways to provide more visibility to executives.  

Automation means you need fewer people. 

Combined with inflation, the labor shortage is causing the cost of labor to be significantly higher than it’s been for some time. Even so, according to one report, 63% of small businesses are having a hard time finding employees in the first place. 

This is another area where AP automation can help. When your process is automated, you don’t need as many people running your AP department. Even as your company grows, you won’t have to add employees. 

Typically, companies that move from manual AP to automation increase productivity anywhere from 3-5 times. Phrased another way, in an automated department, one person can handle as much throughput as 3-5 people in a manual department. 

By leveraging automation, you’re able to overcome today’s labor challenges — and associated productivity losses — by not requiring as many employees in the first place. Plus, automation sets you up to scale. You won’t have to add more people as your business grows. 

Improve team morale and employee engagement. 

Put yourself in your AP team’s shoes. How excited would you be to show up to work every day to do the same thing over and over again? 

If you’re still relying on manual AP processes, chances are that team morale isn’t as strong as it could be. This makes perfect sense: Nobody is inspired by a career filled with tedious tasks day in and day out. 

This is another area where AP automation can deliver significant productivity gains. According to one study, happy workers are 13% more productive than their counterparts that are less thrilled to be at work. 

When you invest in AP automation solutions — tools purpose-built to accelerate manual AP workflows and make work easier — it’s a very clear sign that you’re supporting your team and freeing them to focus on more important tasks. As a result, team morale improves, employees become happier and more engaged, and productivity increases. 

Plus, when you automate AP, you enable remote work by eliminating the physical handling of paper. In an age where nearly half of professionals surveyed said they would seek a position where they could work from home for their next job, this is another way to improve morale and engagement — and perhaps make it easier to hire workers looking for this highly sought-after perk. 

Automate AP and supercharge productivity. 

In today’s difficult economic climate, businesses have to make smart investments and do everything they can to engage employees and empower them to reach their full potential. 

For many organizations, automation is an easy way to transform the AP department entirely while improving worker happiness and increasing productivity. At the same time, it enables AP workers to focus on higher-value activities, which helps them find more meaning in their work. 

If you’re still relying on manual AP processes, your team is more expensive and less productive — it’s that simple. By investing in AP automation, you can unlock significant productivity gains while building a more resilient organization along the way. What’s not to like? 

Shan Haq is Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Development with Transcepta.