PayStream Summit Wrap Up: AP Automation Inevitable by 2010

September 23, 2008  |  Uncategorized

As the dust begins to settle from PayStream’s first annual electronic invoicing summit, The Next Generation of E-Payables: Electronic Invoicing and Supply Chain Finance, and before I go back to work on our Spring Summit 2009, I thought I’d take a few minutes to reflect on the week’s events.

The inspiration for the Summit was PayStream’s consulting, research reports, and one specific study our research division has been conducting for the last several months regarding the state of AP automation in U. S. companies. The findings were unveiled at the Summit and the eInvoicing Adoption Survey Report released this week. LINK

Common themes emerged from the conference delegates. Many admitted that imaging and OCR were great first steps, but they found it was time to take their AP departments to the next level in automation and to begin exploring advanced options like electronic invoicing.

Organizations just getting started on the path to automation expressed relief when they discovered many of the options that technology providers offered could be tailored and implemented a la carte. You don’t have to automate the entire process all at once.

Of course, everyone wants to know how to make the implementation process a success, but making that happen depends on variables, often times out of your control. This was addressed in the morning panel discussions when panelists offered anecdotes for how to be successful.

The moral of the stories was: 1. Executive sponsorship and cross departmental collaboration is key. You need all departments on board and you need your executive leadership to fully understand and support the project to have any chance of automating your accounts payable, and 2. Take time prior to implementation to get an accurate estimate of the current state of your payables, even if this means stretching your timeline an additional 3-6 months.

And the question addressed most often; how do we get our suppliers on board? The answer was a unanimous recommendation to approach your vendor pool with an air of collaboration and be willing to work with individual vendors who may be on separate platforms. Often times, a solution provider will handle supplier on-boarding for you.

Now, getting back to the survey results from the PayStream eInvoicing Adoption Survey Report. Amid all the findings, we see most clearly that paper is on the way out and it’s on the way out fast. By 2010 we anticipate electronic invoices exceeding the number of paper invoices processed by Fortune 500 companies in the U. S.

Source: PayStream Voices

       


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