You probably remember Gremlins, the 1984 American horror comedy film that featured furry creatures called Mogwai. Do you also recall the three rules you must remember when caring for a Mogwai? You probably don’t, but you may remember that when you did not follow the three “rules” – really bad things happened.  So, what does all this have to do with your Accounts Payable process?  Well, when it comes to the care and feeding of your business, you might be surprised to find that gremlins are indeed hiding out in your AP process.

Are you breaking these “rules” and keeping your AP process from achieving its cost benefit potential? Are you unknowingly putting your business at risk? Let’s find out.

1. Feeding

It’s time to stop feeding the monster! Have you ever spent time looking for a paper invoice? Have you ever had to handle a colleague’s client but didn’t understand their filing system? Are your storage rooms filled with banker’s boxes and filing cabinets? AP automation enables you to receive, process and approve invoices for payment in real time. Automating your AP process will reduce paper consumption and increase productivity by significantly increasing the number of invoices processed per month. Switching from a paper-based system also eliminates lost, missing, or duplicate invoices. Lost invoices can significantly slow the accounts payable process as well as put data security at risk.

2. Water

Do you have a plan in place for business continuity? For example, what if your office storage or storage facility were exposed? We’re not just talking about paper getting wet. We’re talking about damage, loss – even natural disasters. We all know that you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. In the digital/big data world this means maintaining and deploying a continuity plan that leverages the cloud. When data is stored in the cloud, employees are able to access, update, and process orders in real time from anywhere, including while meeting with the customer or during travel. It also keeps your data safe, secure, and away from the gremlins.

3. Sunlight

Expose the gremlins that are keeping your process held hostage. Shining light on a process or mandate that is no longer serving the business will help illuminate where you’re spending too much or not saving enough. A 2010 Aberdeen Group study[1] found that it can take anywhere from 3.5 to 23 days – the industry average is 14.2 days – to process a single invoice and by embracing an automated process you are able to improve labor productivity by 25%. The speed and efficiency with which employees can process invoices automatically will allow them to provide exceptional customer service.

Automating your AP process – combined with proper care and feeding – will help you fight back against pesky “process” gremlins and return your business to its full potential.