3.5 Accounting Process Upgrades For Your AP Department

accounting-process-AP-departmentIs your accounts payable team always in danger of falling behind, but hiring additional staff just isn’t in the budget? You know you need to improve efficiency in your accounting process, yet can’t afford to waste already limited time on tools and new workflows that might not pay off.

Here are 3.5 ways to significantly reduce the staff time required in your current accounts payable (AP) processes, using a robust document management system:

1) Purchase and requisition process: When someone in your company wants to place a purchase or requisition order, the order first needs to be reviewed for accuracy before it goes out. And that tends to be a time-consuming process for your accounting team. First, somebody needs to look up the purchase order, check to make sure the right prices were entered and that the products and services to be purchased fit with the needs of the organization. There’s a lot of back and forth, especially if you need to resolve a discrepancy. 

Fortunately, it’s possible to streamline and automate this process with a document management system, which reduces errors and allows your accounting team to accomplish more in the same amount of time.

2) Verifying that a product was received before payment: Before your AP department pays for the order, it must verify that the product was received and is satisfactory. Again, this is often a time-consuming process. Someone needs to call or email people in the warehouse, shipping department or receiving department to make sure the product arrived. 

Next, the people who ordered the product have to make sure they received the right product and are happy with the service and quality before they approve the payment of that invoice. In large companies, the shipping department and the department that needs to sign off on the invoice might be in two different physical locations, further complicating the process.

Document management makes it easy to automate and manage the flow of information and approvals between AP and the department initiating the purchase, greatly reducing the amount of time and paperwork that goes into the process. 

3) Accounting system recording: After AP gets approval to pay the invoice, you would typically start recording the invoices through the accounting system. At this point, you also file the invoice away. But in order to find it later, the invoice needs to be indexed in any number of ways: by company name, invoice number, date, etc. 

A document management solution eliminates this task: It automatically indexes new invoices with various criteria and stores them in a central repository with the appropriate ordering and accounting information. In addition, all documents can easily be organized and stored in a way so they fulfill any kind of document retention or compliance requirements.  

And here’s one more bonus tip for a more efficient AP department: 

3.5) Responding to vendor inquiries: If a vendor calls and asks why they haven’t received a payment, document management makes it easy for your AP team to respond quickly while the vendor is on the phone. With just a few clicks, you’re able to pull up the invoice and a copy of the check that was sent, and send it to the vendor via email or fax.

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