The DNA of an Accounts Payable Department: By Alistair Nicholas, Managing Director, Esker Northern Europe
by Jamie Radford
The Accounts Payable (AP) function is a critical backbone for managing cashflow and fostering business resilience within an organisation – but what of the people, processes and environment that make up AP?
In conjunction with Jamie Radford, the founder of Accounts Payable Association and APTV, Esker have created a series of short videos, looking not only at this genetic make-up, but also how AP has changed across the past 10 years, and will continue to do so into the future.
Catch-up on the videos using the links below, or read on to discover more:
Accounts Payable: The Past
From 10+ years ago when invoicing was entirely paper-based, AP teams have come a long way in the last decade, in the most part thanks to continual improvements in technology.
With the manual processes of old, AP staff time was taken up chasing physical signatures and tracking invoice copies.
As automation platforms increased in effectiveness, so did the need for teams to adapt and embrace new technologies
An increase in e-invoicing and the pandemic-driven move to remote working have paved the way for digital AP taking a huge leap forward.
Accounts Payable: The Present
As mentioned, the pandemic has been one of the biggest drivers in change of office-based working since the Industrial Revolution – and AP teams have largely been able to embrace new ways of remote working.
With lockdowns giving no choice but to work at home, finance leaders have had to place an increased level of trust in their AP staff, allow for flexibility, and embrace the use of online approvals and requisitions.
For those companies who hadn’t already embraced AP automation, the need became ever greater in order to avoid hefty delays in the P2P cycle and issues with suppliers. What’s more, remote working created an extra demand for secure, compliant systems, to manage sensitive documents and transactions.
Accounts Payable: The Future
We touched on the issue of Supplier Management when looking at the present world of AP – and this will continue to take precedent going forwards. The mass disruption to the global economy has made it more important than ever to nurture and maintain a healthy supply chain.
What’s more, with automation systems providing new insights into the AP process, Accounts Payable now has the opportunity to become more analytical, and utilise Big Data to become an even more strategic, value-adding department.
And as technology continues to evolve, AI for example, plays an ever increasing role. AP teams will find themselves able to do more with less – using technology to further reduce and even remove manual and mundane tasks.
Esker’s Accounts Payable automation software allows businesses to eliminate the pains of manual AP invoice processing thanks to AI-driven data capture, touchless processing and electronic workflow capabilities. The end result? A simpler, more efficient, and highly visible way to manage cash flow and generate new revenue.
As Managing Director – Northern Europe, Alistair Nicholas leads Esker’s Northern European operations, covering finance, sales, marketing and professional services activities. Having joined Esker in 2001 as UK / Ireland Sales Manager, Alistair was quickly promoted to head up the sales for Northern Europe before taking on his current role.