Why AP Teams Will Continue Working From Home in 2021 – And That’s Okay
January 14, 2021
Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes
It’s safe to say many of us will be glad to see the back of 2020, but the effects of COVID-19 will still be felt well into 2021. At the start of the pandemic, 88% of businesses worldwide made it compulsory for their employees to work from home and many are still there. Accountants are unlikely to head back to the office next year, or perhaps ever. A survey conducted last summer found that most accountants would like eventually to return to a hybrid model, heading into the office to collaborate with co-workers while also working part-time from home. In other words, remote working is very much here to stay.
Most are adapting already. A recent survey of senior finance executives in the US found their number one priority in 2021 was moving to the cloud. The pandemic has accelerated digitization and automation, for several reasons. What does that mean for your accounts payable (AP) team? If you are still dependent on manual processing and payments, you could be in trouble.
Processing an invoice manually can cost up to $15. If the process is automated, however, that cost can be reduced to less than $3.
Getting approval for payments and invoices is difficult when people are all in different locations, and can take days or even weeks of chasing. It is a challenge to process paper invoices and check payments when your team is at home.
What’s more, it creates a security risk when AP professionals send sensitive documents by email, and create their own documents such as spreadsheets to track them. Expenses and payments can be delayed as your team wastes time following the paper trail. In time, this can lead to disgruntled employees and vendors.
Finance teams working manually during this time risk losing oversight of their spend, and increasing the danger of errors and fraud, such as duplicate invoices and phishing scams.
Want to learn more about payments automation for the remote age? Watch this on-demand webinar.
How automation can help
It’s not just during a pandemic that relying on manual processes causes problems. While your team spends time on dull, time-consuming tasks such as data entry and writing checks, they are not able to dedicate themselves to meaningful tasks that add value to the company.
Automation can reduce the time spent on manual tasks by 83%. There are significant cost savings to be made too. Processing an invoice manually can cost up to $15. If the process is automated, however, that cost can be reduced to less than $3.
The cloud gives users access to the AP system from anywhere. Information is centralized on a single platform for all legal entities. This means finance teams get a 360° overview of the entire AP workflow, with remote tools for stakeholders to manage reports from anywhere with just a few clicks.
Let’s take a look at what automating your AP with Beanworks means for each of the four AP processes: purchase orders, invoices, payments, and expenses.
Purchase orders can be generated automatically and then have the corresponding invoices matched to them automatically. You can set spending limits in advance to gain greater control over the process, and automate approvals in the same place.
Invoices can be processed up to nine times faster, and you can simplify audits and save time with digital invoice storage. Your team can search for any invoice by the vendor, GL code, amount, legal entity, or any other information on the document. Reduce the risk of fraud or errors with customized approval channels for your team and ensure the right invoices are paid at the right time.
Payments are quicker, easier, and more secure with automation. Set up a reliable and transparent approval process for vendor payments and easily look up the status of any payment at any time, from anywhere.
Expenses can often be delayed and even fraudulent. Recently, 85% of employees in a survey admitted they sometimes lied about expense claims. Get visibility into spend when employees upload receipts and create expense reports from anywhere, with a mobile app or through a web browser.
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