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Dear CFO, can you afford to neglect your AP team?

Accounts Payable AutomationTrendsBest practicesThought Leadership
Sari Aapola

Glancing through a newsletter in my inbox the other day, I saw this rather disturbing information: In a satisfaction survey last year, two-thirds of Accounts Payable professionals said they did not have the tools to develop their skills. Almost 40% said they had no career advancement opportunities in their current role.

At the same time, my news feeds are filled with articles about:
a) continued labor shortage and
b) the so-called Great Resignation (where people quit their jobs in masses without a prospect of a new one) turning into what’s called the Great Reshuffle, where these professionals actually just switch jobs to find a position that fulfills their career needs and provides better work-life balance. Many of these people work in finance teams.
Working with process automation, I constantly bump into the fear of automation and AI making most jobs in finance teams disappear in the next ten years. When talking to our customers and prospects, we meet a lot of great finance teams that are determined to benefit from automation and AI (they’re usually the ones that buy from us 😊). They are not afraid of automation taking their jobs but see a path where their job descriptions will change for the better and become more interesting and demanding. They also foresee providing their companies with better business support and increased efficiency and transparency.
We also see customers where the AP team alone is the driving force, without support from the finance leaders. These teams know they need better tools to help their business cope with the competition. However, their CFO is nowhere to be seen in the process, until it’s time to sign the contract. It takes a lot of time and effort from the AP team to convince their boss of the business case, and the fact that modern software tools help AP staff develop their skills and make their job descriptions more versatile – hence, improving their job satisfaction.
Confused? Yeah, so am I.
Most people would say great automation tools make total sense and are, in fact, a no-brainer. Most people would also say it makes sense to provide your team with the tools so they can concentrate on more value-adding tasks, improving the service they provide to fellow workers and giving more meaning to the everyday work. So, dear CFO, in a situation where you risk losing your best people and have to fight for labor, can you afford to neglect your team’s well-justified wishes?
P.S. You may ask who I am as a marketing person, to ask you this. I do it with humility, understanding the pressures you may have. I can say that we’ve experienced a similar development in marketing. I started in marketing pre-internet, in the days of print advertising, brochures, and direct marketing. By far the best experience I’ve had in my career has been the move to digital marketing. The opportunities it gives in visibility, analytics, cost reduction, collaboration, and consequently improved motivation for the whole team have been enormous.
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About the Author
Sari Aapola
, Dooap's CMO, is a seasoned technology marketer, author on Thought Leadership, speaker and trainer. Choir singer and avid cook.

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