Hard to Believe
I came across an interesting statistic the other day. The typical AP team spends 35% of its time dealing with suppliers. Put another way, each AP team member spends 7 days a month working with suppliers…tracking down missing invoices, telling suppliers where an invoice is in the process, responding to queries about the timing of payments. That’s an astounding statistic, one I initially had a hard time believing.
The Reality is Even Worse
So I called a couple of our customers and asked about their experience. If anything, it’s an understatement of the real impact. One customer pointed out that the AP team is the line of first defense when it comes to working with suppliers. However, other departments in an organization receive calls from suppliers. Purchasing, sales, shipping…even executives receive calls in more extreme cases. Just like you, suppliers want to when they are going to get paid.
This entire process (if you can call it a “process”) is an anachronism. We live in the world of self-service. I can log into Amazon and check the status of an order, confirm a dinner reservation on OpenTable, and review the results of my annual exam on a patient portal, all in the time it takes an AP manager to track down a missing invoice. And I can do any of the above on any day at any time.
“We Have the Technology”
That’s in the opening narration from The Six Million Dollar Man. It applies to AP automation as well: We have the technology, and it’s called the Supplier Portal. Not only do we have the technology, we know how to deploy it in a way that dramatically improves the efficiency of the process. Suppliers get what they want most: Faster turnaround on inquiries, faster payment of invoices, better cash management and a better use of their AR staff. Customers get what they want most: Control over their AP team plus the ability to offset a significant portion of the cost of their AP Automation solution.
“Better, stronger, faster”
That’s also in the opening narration of the show. And it applies to the Supplier Portal as well. Maybe it’s not quite the world’s first bionic man. But it will make your AP process better, stronger, faster…and even improve your bottom line. Not even Steve Austin can make the last claim.
Dan Lackner is the Chief Revenue Officer at Nivo1 and a regular contributor to this blog.