Virtual accounting systems and specifically task automation for the accounts payable division of your accounting department is out there, and you might be interested in buying it but wonder if it has all the capabilities you need.
Despite the number of software platforms and SaaS systems out there, one report showed that 36% of US firms are still processing invoices by paper, and 49% are still paying their invoices by paper check. But you can get around these limitations and become more efficient with your cash flow if you decide to go digital with it.
When you choose an AP SaaS system, there’s five other things you should consider.
The Cost Of The Features You Need To Use
It used to be that if you were going to get an elaborate accounting software suite with a high performance AP application, you’d have to spend a fortune for the entire system. With an automated AP system running through a SaaS provider, you don’t have to purchase a large software package. You can sign up for the cloud-based software and services that you want and cut out the ones you don’t want.
Basically, you can work with the SaaS provider on which services would compliment your business and find out how you can get discounts from them.
How Long It Takes To Set It Up
Sometimes business owners and CEOs are a little reluctant to buy a new software system due to how long it could take to install and start using. Newer AP cloud systems don’t have this problem because they are managed by provider on hardware outside your business, and all you need to do is be able to connect to them via the internet.
You don’t have to worry about disrupting your current IT infrastructure or putting your business on hold, and it usually doesn’t take too long for employees to acclimate to an automated AP system.
On top of that, if you’re already using a vendor specific accounting platform and don’t want to switch, you can usually add the cloud AP system to it and send your data to it.
The Ease Of Finding Correct Purchase Order Numbers
Few things can be more frustrating than having to create, edit, and constantly review purchase orders, contracts and other invoices before processing and making payments.
By using a good AP automation system, you can have much of the PO number matching and data organization done automatically so that you can enter in other more important purchase order agreement information and data.
When you need to go through your invoice history and browse through old records, you can pull them up from the system’s dashboard.
Having Better Workflow Management
Time can be wasted when you have to pass your AP invoices and POs to different managers and authorized personnel to get them approved.
An automated AP system can make sure your invoices are getting timely approval circulating from the appropriate departments to the authorization authorities, and then back to the departments for sending.
If you need other employees or agents to be in the communication loop regarding invoices, a fully automated system can do so and even integrate with ERP software.
Having Ongoing Support From Industry Experts
There are situations where you need to get live help via chat or another method for using the AP system. Companies that host AP SaaS often have live support agents there and ready to help your business get the most out of the software. Some AP service providers even have some additional support and consulting services for certain accounting practices that you may find helpful.
The bottom line is you really need to ease the burdens of your accounting department and get to more important things than manually entering and rechecking data, and this is why an automated system is worth it.
There’s many different systems that are tailored for various industries and businesses of different sizes, so you can review different AP platforms to see if they’re right for you.
Many of them also have access controls built into them as well as other security mechanisms to combat fraud and protect data. Small businesses who don’t use an automated AP system may soon realize they need them to compete with bigger companies.