The speed of business today is dizzying. New technology is changing the way business gets done, and more business competitors are springing up from new and unlikely places.
In order to survive, businesses have to make sure every aspect of their organization is operating at peak efficiency. If you want your accounting function to be one of your strategic differentiators, you need to make some changes.
A recent report from Ardent Partners, “The State of ePayables 2018: The Future of AP is Now,” offered several suggestions to help businesses operate more efficiently. I want to share them with you because I think they are right on target.
- Focus on developing a proactive and agile operation: Being agile allows you to respond quickly to changing market and competitive challenges. The AP department must play a role in ensuring that its data and intelligence are used properly across your entire business.
- Invest today for a smarter tomorrow: All too often, “the AP function is the last in line for investments and other types of resource allocation,” the Ardent report says. “For AP to become a ‘smart’ hub of intelligence, knowledge and efficiency,” it needs to have some resources at its disposal, whether that is technology or people.
- Take a metrics-based approach to improve AP efficiency and effectiveness: We all have heard the adage that if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. This is very true for the AP department, which needs to develop KPIs that are tracked and reported. It can include things like invoice exceptions, invoice-processing costs, rate of straight-through processing, etc.
- Curate innovation within the department and the financial supply chain: Whether it is mobility, digital payments, or process automation, the AP function has to continue to innovate itself and work to align itself with your overall corporate digital goals.
- Develop and hire data science capabilities: You need highly trained people who can do more than simply analyze data. Data scientists have the ability to take data from a variety of sources and translate it into actionable solutions. That makes them invaluable to your organization. In a time when you are bombarded with data, you need people in your organization who are capable of sifting through all the information to find the nuggets you need to be efficient.
The pace of business is not going to slow down any time soon. You need to take action today to ensure that you are poised and ready for the future.