How an External View Helps to Determine Your Accounts Payable Team Performance

Written by Milly Long

This is the first blog of our new series which focuses on our recent workbook ‘57 Ways to Increase Accounts Payable Success, which is intended for leaders and managers of Accounts Payable (AP) and Procure-to-Pay teams, who are keen to improve their team’s performance.

A clear vision will enable Accounts Payable to understand the direction it is heading. Leading teams will have an effective plan that will focus on Vision, Mission and Goals. This can be relatively simple and it should be nothing more than one sheet of paper and it can be created during a workshop. The aim is to get the team involved as this will help to enforce the idea that everyone is working together towards a common goal.

Internal Workshops

Your team can often find that the daily routine can become monotonous, so taking them away from this can help team members to speak honestly. Using a different location and an external facilitator, it will give them a new environment that feels less like work and more like an open discussion. The aim of the workshop is to encourage staff to talk about issues before seeking out solutions. This will help the team to understand that you are seeking a change to help improve the situation.

Team Away Day

Building team spirit is all about bringing teams together and this is necessary when it comes to Accounts Payable. It keeps employees motivated but it can help employees to break away from their roles, enabling them to release pressure. In fact, an away day or team outing can be used to motivate employees to hit targets, all of which helps to enhance productivity, loyalty and morale.

Attend Conferences

Conferences with a focus on Accounts Payable will enable employees to enhance their knowledge and skills. They’ll meet other managers and leaders whereby they can improve their understanding of best practices while they will be able to gain accreditation points that helps them achieve certain certifications.

Networking and Forums

These are often held locally which makes them easier to access. Furthermore, as they are more intimate, it makes it easier to share knowledge and understanding. Speakers will provide their experience and insight, empowering staff to feel motivated and encouraged to resolve issues and improve relationships throughout the team.

External Problem Solver

Where there are process or performance issues, bringing in an external problem solver can help to deal with problems and encourage improvements. This is commonly sponsored by the Head of Accounts Payable who has the scope to provide the necessary resources to help solve issues. The problem solver is often an Accounts Payable consultant as opposed to a management consultant.

Now It’s Time for a Clear Vision…

Creating a plan enables the department to adopt a proactive approach. This gives them a voice and helps to obtain a seat at the management table, although the plan has to be formalised, written and published. Furthermore, with targets set out, it is possible to implement a reward system, this will help to motivate the team and recognise their value.

So, by investing time in attempting to take an external view of your team and by delivering a clear vision, mission, goals and a plan of action, Accounts Payable will become more informed, driven and enabled to perform.

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