5 Tips for Streamlining Accounts Payable in a Digital Age
6 min. Read
Last Updated: 02/26/2015
Table of Contents
Every business must deal with payables, whether they are for services, goods, or even equipment or vehicle leasing. Managing these liabilities has become easier with the introduction of cloud-based accounting applications and the increasing use of mobile technology in the workplace.
Taking these recent trends into account, here are five ways that businesses can streamline their payable activities to save time, money, and hassle.
1. Centralized accounts payable software
Using a cloud-based accounts payable system allows users to access and update accounting information easily and quickly from wherever they may be. Because the system is stored in a centralized server, software updates are only required in that one location, saving time and the expense of installing updates on multiple computers across the company.
2. Digital purchase orders
Streamlining payables is much easier when remote employees and telecommuters can fill out digital purchase orders on their mobile devices. This removes the necessity of hard copies, eliminating the possibility of misplacing important financial documentation. A digital purchase order also has predetermined fields, reducing the likelihood of incorrect or incomplete forms, which can result in delays or discrepancies in payables.
3. Integrated systems
When payables are part of a fully integrated online accounting system, the chance of duplicating information is greatly reduced. These integrated systems connect all accounting information through an easy-to-navigate platform while also pulling together relevant data from different programs. They also inspire collaboration on documents and faster turnover. For example, if an employee enters a digital purchase order into the system, a payables clerk (who may be in a different office) can then easily extract the required information to schedule the payment.
4. Digital approval of payables
Once payables are set up as part of an online accounting system, payments can be approved faster. Instead of delivering hard copies of invoices for payment authorization, the information can instead be delivered electronically to the authorized personnel. The payable can then be approved with an electronic signature. If questions arise or further details are required for a transaction, the digital trail can easily be followed back to the employee who generated the initial purchase order. This saves time and energy when it comes to tracking down information and reduces the potential for unauthorized or delayed payments to suppliers and service providers.
5. Convert hard copy documents into electronic files
No one wants to retain — or organize — massive amounts of paperwork, particularly if office and storage space are limited. Converting all hard copy purchase orders and payments into electronic files can greatly reduce the need for space-consuming filing cabinets. Note: Some professions must maintain paper records due to compliance or regulatory requirements. Check with your professional organization prior to moving to a digital accounts payable solution.
Centralizing your accounting system, digitizing purchase orders and approvals, integrating accounting and finance systems into one dashboard, and converting hard copy documents into electronic files are five great ways to simplify accounts payable.