Accounts payable departments are a great example of a job where valuable employees often end up doing lots of “bad” work. Imagine your hiring ad for an Accounts Payable Clerk stating:

Do you like repetitive data entry, manual matching of physical checks to invoices, chasing down managers for approvals, and printing invoices that were sent via email? Well then, COMPANY NAME is the place for you!

Would you want that job?  Probably not. However, a good accounts payable workflow doesn’t have to be like that. Follow these five accounts payable best practices to eliminate stress, inefficiency, and annoyance – the “bad” work, from your AP process.

1. Keep your AP workflow organized

Organization is the key to any successful accounts payable team. It’s common practice for suppliers and managers to reach out at any point and ask about the status of a specific invoice. You need to be highly organized to make sure you’re able to track the status of every invoice at all times. Time spent filing and retrieving documents to perform research can lead to callbacks and time wasted on activities that aren’t helping your company grow. Eliminating your paper invoices and managing them on a document management system or your ERP can reduce the time spent retrieving an invoice and eliminates the need to refile it

2. Use automated workflow tools designed for accounts payable

If implemented correctly, automated accounts payable workflow  can be the accounts payable manager’s best friend. Management tools help you store, organize, and streamline your processes. Cloud storage solutions keep critical IRS required documents free from harmful damage that can occur in a natural disaster. Looking for productivity tools? Google has over 8 million results for you to choose from. Identify the area of your workflow that could be made better with technology, and find the tool that can help you do it.

3. Eliminate waste and redundancy from your accounts payable department

Ever print out an invoice that came via email, just so you can file it away in a filing cabinet? Most accounts payable departments do. It’s wasteful on many levels, from the paper the email is printed on, to the time you took to open, print, and store it. It’s one of the reasons your invoice approval workflow is likely full of errors.

4. Create accountability through transparency

The importance of accountability in your AP approval process can’t be overstated. The AP department sends a clear message to the suppliers by how they pay their invoices. Interruption of services or delayed shipments caused by payment issues can cripple an entire organization. Holding approvers accountable to timely approval of invoices and the AP department for on time processing of inbound invoices and outbound payments can feel like herding cats when its a manual or email based system.   

5. Get rid of all of the “bad” work

The driving belief behind creating Recordsforce was the idea that we can free workers from “bad” work – providing them with the opportunity to do great work that drives company performance everyday. Bad work is work that isn’t rewarding for employees that leads to low employee engagement and burnout which further erodes retention and performance. Everyone, including the AP department, should have the opportunity to do great work. Recordsforce can help optimize, streamline and automate the bad work right out of your AP department. In this blog post, we wrote the following about the benefits your AP team will see by eliminating the “bad” work:

The biggest asset your company has is its people. Your employees are the ones that are driving your company towards its goals on a daily basis. Why spend their time and your money having them do tasks that can easily be outsourced to a third party? Outsourcing your accounts payable process does not have to mean firing people. Rather, free them up to do the work that machines can’t, such as assisting with collections, dealing with AP process exceptions, working with vendors to improve their payment terms or process. Focusing on great work that moves the business forward instead of busy work.

The Bottom Line

These five accounts payable practices aren’t a quick fix for your AP department. It’s a long-term strategy that will show ROI over time. If you get organized, leverage automation technology, eliminate waste and redundancy, be transparent about accountability, and eliminate the “bad” work, you’ll end up with a happier and more productive accounts payable department.

Learn how Recordsforce can help you drive improvement into your accounts payable process today!