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Optimizing AP operations for COVID-19 and beyond

Accounts Payable AutomationRemote workBest practices
Mikko Hytönen

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, AP departments are now facing an unprecedented challenge – how to transition their activities to working remotely. This is all the more difficult given that a large majority of invoice processing activities are conducted in-house, and most Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) AP departments use manual processes.

According to Levvel Research, 74% of D365FO respondents reported that manual data entry and inefficient processes was a key pain point in their invoice processing workflow, followed by the 68% that mentioned the manual routing of invoices for approval.

Even during good times this is problematic. With manual, paper-based, processes Accounts Payable (AP) departments don’t have the visibility to see the invoices they have and where they are in the process, in addition to those that are lost, missing or buried on someone’s desk. And, without this visibility, it’s harder to have the control needed to manage payments and enforce policies and compliance to regulations. In addition, companies are struggling with the inefficiencies and costs of manual processes.

Yet, today despite the pandemic, companies still need to pay their bills, manage their payables and maintain their company’s finances – making paper-based, manual processes more problematic than ever. It is particularly challenging to try to manage paper-based invoices – which come to about 80% of those received.

Trying to handle invoice processing remotely brings added difficulties, including the need to mail or scan and email them around to the appropriate reviewers and AP staff, which wastes everyone’s time. Also, tracking down the right information for coding, routing and processing invoices, which was inefficient enough when everyone was in the office, is more time-consuming now when you can’t just turn to other employees and ask them on the spot.

It’s time to put paper-based manual process to bed. The good news is that AP automation isn’t hard to do, and it can be implemented totally remotely – from demo assessment to deployment and go-live.

Here are several best practices you can conduct now to ready your organization for automation:

  • Look at your processes. Examine the processes and workflow to see which steps might not be needed. Have you built in practices to help prevent fraud and comply with regulations? Is there anything you could do to strengthen them? Now is the time to fine-tune your processes for optimal performance according to market best practices.

  • Opt for a user-friendly solution. Make automation as easy as possible. That means it needs to be easy to learn and implement. Look for intuitive user-interfaces for all devices, including mobile, and rules-based automation that alleviates most of the manual, time-consuming work.

  • Make sure you have remote access. One of the main business lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic is that those organizations that are equipped to conduct business remotely have uninterrupted, smooth-running operations. Enable invoice processing to be easily conducted remotely, by AP staff as well as approvers.

Automating AP always makes sense because it provides the visibility, accuracy, efficiency and control that you need to keep payments on track, satisfy suppliers and help manage cash flow, spend and finances more effectively.  It’s never been more important than now to be able to conduct operations remotely, and it’s easier than you think to automate. Let us know how we can help.

P.S. Implementing Dooap is easier than you could imagine. We can get you up and live in just days! If you buy Dooap in May, we give you a 50% discount on the implementation project. If you decide in June, the discount is 30%.

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About the Author
Mikko Hytönen
, Dooap's CEO, is a seasoned software business veteran with 20 years of experience in the field. He wants to understand how technology changes our lives and the world we live in. Passionate about sports.

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