Insights for Procure-to-Pay and Finance Leaders

5 companies that mastered accounts payable automation

Accounts payable automation might seem like a daunting undertaking, especially if your organization is large and complex. It’s fair to balk at the seemingly insurmountable task of moving a formerly tactical operation to a highly strategic one. That being said, it is possible, and highly worthwhile. Recently, Ardent Partners published a report stating that “Transforming an AP operation takes a commitment of time, energy, and resources, and Ardent Partners research shows that, if done well, it is a worthwhile investment that can deliver long-term advantages.”

Many companies face this issue: automate and transform, or remain stalwart in existing processes. The ones who have successfully transformed their accounts payable processes serve to teach us a lot about the realities of accounts payable automation. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at five businesses who mastered AP automation and uncover how they achieved best-in-class results.

1. Air France KLM

As one of the major airline holding companies, Air France KLM needed to boost their supplier onboarding rates to achieve procure-to-pay success. As with many companies trying to improve their accounts payable and procurement processes, the success lies in their ability to onboard the long tail of suppliers.

Their recipe for success

To improve onboarding rates for smaller suppliers, Air France KLM adopted a solution that offered significant value to suppliers. By doing this, they’ve been able to build better collaboration with all of their suppliers.

2. Eberspächer

The Eberspächer Group of Companies is an international automotive supplier who faced the challenge of invoice digitization. 500,000 paper-based invoices, to be exact. All of which required tedious manual processing. In order to become a strategic AP operation, they needed a better option for processing the invoices.

Their recipe for success

As is often necessary with AP automation, Eberspacher chose to upgrade their e-invoicing software to ensure that there were fewer errors in processing the invoices, and to help digitize the 500,000 annual paper-based invoices. Through this, they were able to realize discounts through faster invoicing, a win-win for Eberspacher and their suppliers.

3. ADM

Collaboration is a key part of the accounts payable process for many enterprises, especially Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), a global food processing company. They were flooded with 3,000 invoices a day, which would often require arduous manual processing by their accounts payable team. Reconciling mistakes made by the manual process was an equally challenging undertaking, which often involved calling suppliers and emailing back and forth. This was both time consuming and cumbersome. Collaboration and invoice exceptions needed to be streamlined digitally for innovation to occur.

Their recipe for success

Rather than having multiple disparate systems for communicating with suppliers, ADM opted for a solution that would allow them to digitize these invoices and collaborate with their suppliers, all within the same platform. The results speak for themselves. After implementing new AP automation software they saw their discount capture rate improving by 24%, their on-payment rate increase by 30%, and were able to slash processing times by 22 days.

4. LGSS

When you’re a large organization supporting the public sector, compliance is one of the highest priorities. LGSS, one of the largest shared services providers supporting the public sector in the United Kingdom faced this exact challenge. They needed to find a more efficient way to maintain strict compliance across their large organization.

Their recipe for success

LGSS needed a partner that could work with their business structure and processes to intelligently build compliance in their processes. By finding a software solution that they were able to collaborate on, and configure to their unique processes, they were able to move towards a more efficient way of maintaining compliance.

5. NHS SBS

30,000 daily invoices might sound terrifying to you. In fact – 30,000 daily anything manual should daunt anyone. The National Health Service shared business services (NHS SBS) supports the publicly funded United Kingdom healthcare service (NHS), and their daily invoice volume was indeed 30,000. The problem was both complex and simple: prevent the inevitable drowning in a sea of paper invoices.

Their recipe for success

The answer: Digitize. The organization opted to move towards a solution that would help digitize invoices and work with their suppliers to create value for them. By taking on their ap automation project, they were able to lower costs, improve supplier relationships, and streamline communications.

The common denominator

All of these organizations are vastly different, but they all have one thing in common: they chose to automate to solve a problem. By leaning on technology, they’re all able to remain ahead in their given industries. Through their journeys of AP transformation, they’ve seen successes, both intended and auxiliary. Let these stories be an inspiration for transformation – no company is too big or complex to transform, and there is never a better time to start than right now.

 

Still not convinced? Read the full report from Ardent Partners: The State of ePayables 2018, and learn why automation is a key to AP success.