How To Achieve A Paperless Accounts Payable System

by Bobby Atwell | September 10, 2018 7:49 am

Paper invoices are slowly becoming obsolete because they are inefficient, expensive, and non-eco-friendly. More and more companies, especially those that are run by the younger generations prefer the paperless accounts payable program option. This means all invoices and payment notifications are sent electronically for faster and accurate processing.

For some, the transition is easy and natural, but for other businesses going from manual to automated invoice processing is a major challenge. If you belong to the latter group for businesses, here are some tips to keep in mind when planning to go paperless:

Tip 1: Examine Your Current AP System

Before jumping into the paperless processing bandwagon it is best to take a good long look at your AP system. By taking the necessary time to examine the different parts of the manual AP system you have in place and determining the weaknesses, you can come up with a better plan for transition the system.

If you don’t know which areas to look into first, try checking how long and how much it takes to process a single invoice and work from there. There is sure to be an accounts payable program that will address all of the issues your current system has.

Tip 2: Talk To The AP Department

Never make changes to the current invoice processing system without talking to the AP department head and staff first. By moving forward without consulting or informing the staff who are in charge of the invoice processing, the transition can be met with a lot of resistance.

The AP department consists of people who know the system well and will have insider information on which areas of the current system needs the most repairs or changes. Their input and support are necessary to ensure the automated AP system will be of use to the company. Otherwise, the department may just completely ignore the changes and continue processing the invoices as usual.

Tip 3: Be Realistic With Reducing Paper

The term “paperless” invoice processing can be very misleading. Completely getting rid of all the paper throughout the entire process is near impossible, but the AP department can come close to zero. Simply prioritize which part of the automated system can survive with zero use of paper and which ones cannot.

Take for example check payments. Unless the company is planning to do all of the payments via online transfers, checks will be necessary which means the system isn’t entirely paperless. Do not put too much pressure on the company and the AP department to go 100% paperless, reaching 80% is more than enough for a significant amount of savings.

Tip 4: Implement Changes Slowly

Shocking the Accounts Payment Department by changing the entire process overnight usually does not produce the desired results. It may take some time and training for the staff to get used to the paperless system. The best way to help them cope with the changes is to slowly acclimate them to the new process.

By making small changes in an extended period of time, the learning curve won’t pose as too much of a challenge and the department will not feel overwhelmed with the changes.
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