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Streamlined Processes: Top Questions to Ask When Searching for AP Automation Software

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Once you’ve established how an accounts payable (AP) automation system will benefit your business, it’s time to start evaluating the potential solutions out there.

As you assess the different software packages available, you’ll need to determine what’s best for your company and whether there are potential downsides that may decrease the efficiency of your organization. By asking the right questions, it’ll help make sure you’re not going to be hit with hidden fees and that the product will live up to your expectations.

Will the Solution Resolve the Current Challenges I Have with My Business’s Processes?

Firstly, you need to make sure the challenges your business currently faces will be addressed by this software package. In order to do this, you need to share all of your processes with the company.

For example, you might want to create a workflow of your accounts payable, showing what happens when you receive an invoice right through to the payment of it. By sending this map to the provider, they’ll be able to use this in their demonstration, showing you how their automation system will work in your organization (for example, it may demonstrate how you can save time with

Will the Solution be Able to Grow with My Business?

If your company is expanding quickly, you’ll need to make sure the solution will be able to cope with larger volumes in the future. Ask for examples of other businesses who have used the software as their company grows.

How Easy is the System to Use and Will It Integrate with My Current Accounting Solutions?

You’ll generally find that there are two types of products on the market – API-level integrations and file-based integrations. Make sure you have everything you need from your IT team and that you understand how each of these systems is integrated into your company.

File-based integrations will require you to import and export files, and may also require manual data entry. Whereas API-level integration ensures your accounting system is automatically synchronized with the system. However, not all these are two-way, and it’s important to note whether the system you’re looking at is or not. Two-way synchronization will mean payment and invoice data is flowing between the solution and your accounting system.

What Processes are Automated?

To get the most out of your AP automation system you’ll want to make sure as many processes are automated as possible. These include payment execution, payment authorization, invoice approval and invoice capture.

How Much Training and Support Will We Receive?

You will find solutions that are cloud-based or on-premise – when the software is cloud-based you’ll access it via the Internet, while on-premise software will be installed on your computer.

If you’re having the solution installed on a computer, you’ll probably need to hire an IT expert or consultant. Cloud-based solutions don’t often require any IT resources and can be ready to use within a few days.

As well as the implementation of the product you’ll also need to consider the training process. Find out who will be there to assist you once you have the software installed and what type of support will be available. You should be provided with an account manager, and, in most cases, you’ll find ongoing phone and email support is included in the package.

Are There Specific Features that Help Prevent or Reduce External or Internal Fraud?

You might also want to look at solutions that offer built-in payment limits, hierarchical approvals, two-factor codes, guaranteed fraud protection and Positive Pay integration. See which of these features the provider offers and ask for a demonstration on how they work.

Can You Help Me Present this Software to My Management Team?

If you’ve got to pitch the new software to your management team before you go ahead, ask the provider whether they can help you with this. In most cases, the answer will be a resounding “yes,” as they’ll want to secure the deal.

If that’s the case, they should provide you with a list of the manual tasks the system will be able to take over, how much everything will cost and where savings can be made (both with time and costs). In a follow-up call, you might also be able to ask them to demonstrate what return on investment you can expect.

Making the decision to implement an AP automation system within your company is a huge step. But by asking the right questions and evaluating a number of providers, it’ll help you establish which is best for your company and its needs. Make sure you’re choosing the solution that’ll scale with your business while saving you time and money in the process.

Rhys Clarke is the go-to guy when it comes to tech related queries for your business. He’s answering queries and questions online and writing articles on business tech topics to help everyone learn what they need to know to help move their business forward.