One of the big things that 2020 has taught AP teams is that if they are still using paper and spreadsheets, their jobs are all but impossible to perform effectively. In a world where finance teams are geographically dispersed - even just within the same city - trying to manage approvals and ensure vendors are paid on time is incredibly challenging unless workflows can be moved to the cloud.
What’s also become apparent in the face of a potentially devastating downturn, simply processing invoices and making payments to vendors is no longer enough. As Ardent Partners says in its recent research paper The State of ePayables 2020, “... AP must work deliberately and aggressively to support the larger enterprise - pushing to help ensure its continuity and build its resilience.”
The AP team needs to be a partner to the CFO in providing accurate and timely insight about corporate spend. This requires clear visibility into paid and outstanding invoices. It also requires finance teams to quickly analyze spend and payments trends and patterns, in order to give critical counsel which can impact an organization’s liquidity.
How can finance teams best support the CFO and the broader business? No two organizations are the same, and cash-rich global corporations will likely have different priorities to SMEs or non-profits. However, there are certain best practices that any organization should embrace in order to build a best-in-class AP function. Key among these is selecting a technology partner that offers the capabilities that best support their specific requirements.
To help organizations make this choice, we’ve brought together content from some of the leading minds in the accounts payable field from Ardent Partners and Gartner. These two research papers, The State of ePayables 2020 and Market Guide for Accounts Payable Invoice Automation Solutions provide readers with an excellent understanding of the payables environment, both from an overall approach and also with a view to navigating the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This research provides deep intelligence into the challenge that corporate AP teams face, and how they can best leverage technology to improve operational excellence and data insight. Readers can also look at data to benchmark their own team’s effectiveness versus best-in-class organizations.
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Our choice of Chrome River EXPENSE was made in part due to the very user-friendly interface, easy configurability, and the clear commitment to impactful customer service – all aspects in which Chrome River was the clear winner. While Chrome River is not as large as some of the other vendors we considered, we found that to be a benefit and our due diligence showed that it could support us as well as any large players in the space, along with a personalized level of customer care.
We are excited to be able to enforce much more stringent compliance to our expense guidelines and significantly enhance our expense reporting and analytics. By automating these processes, we will be able to free up AP time formerly spent on manual administrative tasks, and enhance the role by being much more strategic.