What does being Zen, Business Strategy and your Accounts Payables have in common?

02.07.19 01:38 PM Comment(s) By Eoin Doyle

Image by Oliver Menyhart from Pixabay

Accounts Payable (AP) is a business function that is as old as commerce itself; and how we process bills and invoices hasn’t changed much in that time. But in 2019, with three screens open at a time, our professional and personal lives are bing-bonging at frequent ferocity, intruding on our thoughts and stealing our focus, delaying our processes or forcing us to recalculate that P&L sheet, again. Bing. 


With that pain in mind, what would you say if I told you that you could reduce the time it takes you to process your bills by 68%, have 80% of your time back AND sleep like a baby for eight hours a night; with the trust that your accounts and your professional relationships are in tip top condition? 


Read on if you would like to know how. 


Ironically, it involves more technology - but the kind that will give you back your time and, importantly, will give you the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that your accounts are done correctly, with 100% data accuracy, the first time and every time. 


The traditional AP flow is slow and ineffective 


The traditional AP processing workflow is a protracted manual process with many hidden costs, time wasting and inefficiencies.

In a report conducted in 2016, CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) concluded that 60% of companies believe that their invoice process could definitely be improved. Further, a study from CIPS found that 82% of finance professionals said that poor invoice process management was impacting their teams’ ability to perform effectively, leading to low job satisfaction; 60% of professionals said that supplier invoices was the most hated aspect of the job, with 70% finding it laborious and tedious. The study also found that financial teams were concerned with the knock on effect of manual supplier invoice management, with 45% worried about the impact on their organisations’ efficiency and 37% concerned that these problems could be hurting supplier relationships. 


What do these statistics mean for your business? 

Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash
We all know that the most valuable piece of the puzzle for successful businesses are it’s people, and your financial staff work on a daily basis with your most confidential information. Yet we accept that these same people are often feeling frustrated, and anxious having to manage the human relationship aspect of their role. In addition to the findings noted above, some worrying and emotive phrases emerged in the survey: ‘low job satisfaction’, ‘impact on team performance’, ‘fixing or smoothing over relationships’, ‘laborious tasks’, ‘worry of organisational efficiency’, ‘hurt supplier relationships’. 

So what’s the solution to address the impact on human resources of less than effective AP processes? More socialising? More days off? More team events? Increased headcount? They are some solutions. However, if we use the vitamin, painkiller or band aid analogy, isn’t it best practice to treat the area before a bigger problem unravels?


Lightyear delivers significant cost and time savings for customers


Typically, it takes a UK SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) 40 days to process its bills from receiving to payment. With Lightyear, once a bill is received, all line-item data is extracted in real-time and presented for sign-off. The bill transitions to the approvals process before being exported to accounting systems and then archived in Lightyear for your regulatory period.


This process can take as little as 1 minute to complete, however on average we see companies processing their bills in 13 days when you take into account the normal business functions; awaiting for approvers to approve their bills and invoices, disputes on invoices to be resolved or simply forgetting to approve/pay the bills. This represents a 68% improvement over the standard 40 days that research suggests it takes for SMEs to pay their bills. 


Processing bills 68% faster means that your business can take advantage of early payment discounts and avoid penalties for late payment: purse strings are intact, business relationships are improved and no sleep is lost. The impact on your business’s most precious assets is also not negligible: your employees will truly appreciate the smoother accounting proficiencies that Accounts Payable Automation with Lightyear provides; resulting in lower attrition rates and higher employee engagement ratings. 

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Lightyear takes away the pain from AP


An example of the many benefits Lightyear offers, is that when data is digitised, there is no opportunity for bills to go missing. Paying bills on time means businesses can avail of early payment discounts which average at 2% per bill. 

In traditional AP processes, when bills go missing there is additional staff cost and added frustration searching for the paper bill; if it isn’t found, phone calls or emails to obtain re-issue of the bill(s), apologies to creditors for payment delays, then the unfortunate blame game management and staff sometimes play for misplacing bills can occur. Make the choice to automate your AP and never lose an invoice again.


Increasing efficiency and productivity


Automated AP reduces the margin for error and 100% accurate data-extraction and automated bookkeeping rules, remove this margin completely. This results in more time to focus on value adding tasks to your business. Imagine if you had 3 hours to analyse the latest financial projections instead of 1 hour - do you think you could provide more insight into the projections?


It may be time for a change

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