It’s important that your Accounts Payable department is set up to perform to its full potential, unhindered data and process issues. To achieve this, it’s vital that you use the right tools to gain clarity into any problems, the obstacles, and the sources.
Aid Interaction With AP With a Policy Manual
For efficient operations, it is essential that external entities and in-house teams understand how to work with your AP department. As a result, your policy manual will have been created to clearly state all of the rules and standards that relate to invoice and credit note data, authorisation and payment procedures, rules and standards, as well as how documents are to be presented. This has to be kept up to date, so give the job of quarterly review to one of the AP team members.
Many errors are generated by external parties, so reinforcing your policy manual and ensuring they can access it will help to avoid these errors. Furthermore, new team members can refer to it as this will help provide useful guidance and best practices.
Your team will manage a wide range of processes and often, the processes can become intertwined with other activities, leading to confusion. This can be remedied by mapping all AP data and process flows and linking relevant documents. This contributes to streamlining the way in which the team works and additionally provides excellent foundations for a full AP operations audit, and can help you to identify process changes that will improve operational efficiency and throughput.
It’s also worth carrying out analysis of process bottlenecks, and to do this, you’ll have to engage the team and consider historical statistics. This can help to inform your policy manual and make improvements across a range of processes.
Self-auditing is a great way of spotting errors, duplicate invoices, exceptions, potential fraud, and compliance risk, and all leading AP departments should do this.
It is possible to generate some reports from your ERP although these are limited and interpreting the reports can take a significant amount of time. As a result, it might be worth using specialist software that carries out all the self-audit and risk detection legwork for you.
The self-audit is crucial for measuring and improving AP operations, using forensic analysis, pattern matching, and trend analysis of data. This allows managers to see the profile of data on their AP ledger while making it possible to prevent future errors by taking a proactive approach. This will help to prevent serious vendor payment issues from arising, which in turn, help to save time and protect working capital. Automated self-audit makes it possible for the AP team to focus on higher-value AP, P2P, and financial analysis.
This blog is one in a series covering ways to improve Accounts Payable and Procure-to-Pay operations through forensic-level, AI-powered risk detection and prevention. To read the full report, click here.