The adoption of AP automation eliminates time-consuming manual processing of invoices. Since the advent of IDC (Intelligent Data Capture) at the start of the 2000s, many manual steps, once required, are performed touchlessly. Today the AP department controls much of the financial data used by the C-suite to make pertinent business decisions. Discover the skills a modern AP manager must possess for success.
Manual Processing of the Past
In the past, AP managers handled invoice processing manually. An AP professional needed data entry skills, knowledge of accounting regulations, and strict attention to detail. Strong problem-solving capabilities, self-motivation, and vendor management were the top skills required for this job. Manual processing meant invoice approvals and payments and vendor verification could take days or weeks. Now the same work takes just seconds or minutes to accomplish, helping companies reduce late invoice payments.
Beyond Data Entry
Today AP managers have moved beyond data entry into increasingly important responsibilities. The latest accounts payable software takes out the manual steps from the AP process and efficiently capture invoice data. Once a task-oriented career, the modern AP manager needs to be savvy at business analysis, data interpretation, project management, change management, and communications with C-suite management and business stakeholders.
An AP manager typically plays an integral role in the selection and adoption of AP automation software, and as a change advocate and project manager during the implementation process. AP management works with IT management, procurement, and finance management to prove the value of investing in automation and choosing the right option for the organization’s needs and budget. Once the system is adopted, a skilled AP manager looks for process improvements and identifies bottlenecks to maximize the value of automation and outcomes.
Beyond processing data, the modern AP manager must interpret data and provide detailed business analyses based on this data. Cloud AP software provides real-time financial data, including business performance indicators and CFO KPIs, such as weighted average days to pay (WADTP). Also, process performance indicators are easily analyzed to look for potential improvements in crucial areas such as invoice processing time. Watching these updates helps the AP manager make the necessary changes to improve overall efficiency.
Complex Communication Skills
A modern AP manager must have good judgment, complex problem-solving skills, and the ability to communicate effectively with the C-suite. AP automation makes it easy to determine costs, detect fraud, and search for money-saving opportunities, such as discounts for paying vendors early. AP managers also take charge of vendor relationships to ensure supplies are readily available at the best prices. Many work with procurement to cultivate beneficial relationships with vendors. Today an AP manager is responsible for much more than securing invoice approvals from management.
AP automation is a necessity as advanced technologies are developed, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. Organizations around the globe are automating AP processes and realizing the ongoing benefits of this investment. Smart AP managers ensure the latest technologies are adopted and maximized, harnessing the power of automation to improve operations and save money.