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4 Common Accounts Payable Myths

Debunking AP Myths to Improve Your AP Systems

Despite advancements in technology and changes in best practice, there are several misconceptions in the world of accounts payable that persist. These common accounts payable myths can hinder efficiency, lead to errors, and even impact the bottom line of businesses. Let’s debunk four prevalent myths in the world of accounts payable:

Myth 1: Accounts Payable is a Simple, Routine Task

Accounts payable is often seen as a straightforward task of processing invoices and making payments; however, this myth overlooks the complexity and importance of AP in the financial ecosystem of a business. In reality, AP involves intricate processes such as invoice verification, three-way matching, approval workflows, and compliance with regulatory requirements. Managing AP efficiently requires attention to detail, adherence to policies, and integration with other financial systems. If treated as a simple task that is disconnected from other systems, your AP processes are destined for inefficiency or even failure.

Myth 2: Manual Data Entry is Sufficient for Accounts Payable

While manual data entry has been the traditional approach to handling invoices, it is far from sufficient in today’s fast-paced business environment. Relying solely on manual processes increases the risk of errors, delays, and inefficiencies. Moreover, manual data entry is time-consuming and labor-intensive, diverting resources from higher-level activities. Businesses can benefit significantly from automation technologies such as electronic data interchange (EDI), optical character recognition (OCR), machine learning (ML), and robotic process automation (RPA), which streamline AP processes, reduce errors, and enhance productivity. Although manual data entry for AP processes worked in the past, businesses that strive for efficiency and growth should leave this common accounts payable myth in the past and move towards automation technologies.

Myth 3: Accounts Payable Automation is Cost-Prohibitive

Another common myth is that implementing AP automation is prohibitively expensive. While there are costs associated with deploying automation solutions, the return on investment (ROI) can be substantial. AP automation helps businesses save time, reduce processing costs, prevent late payments and duplicate payments, and take advantage of early payment discounts. Furthermore, many automation providers offer scalable solutions tailored to the needs and budget constraints of smaller companies, making AP automation accessible to businesses of all sizes. While historically the upfront costs may have been daunting, with today’s cloud subscription-based offerings, utilizing AP automation provides instant value for a low upfront investment.

Myth 4: Accounts Payable is Solely a Back-Office Function

Accounts payable is often viewed as a back-office function that operates independently from other business units. However, this myth fails to recognize the strategic role that AP plays in the overall financial management of an organization. AP interacts closely with procurement, operations, finance, and vendor management functions, influencing cash flow, working capital management, and supplier relationships. By integrating AP with other systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and financial planning and analysis (FP&A), businesses can gain real-time visibility into their financial performance and make data-driven decisions.

In conclusion, debunking these common accounts payable myths is crucial for businesses to realize the full potential of their AP systems. By understanding the complexities of AP, embracing automation technologies, and recognizing its strategic importance, businesses can streamline processes, reduce costs, mitigate risks, and drive value across the organization. It’s time to dispel these misconceptions and embrace a modern approach to accounts payable management.

At ICG, we have many solutions to help your company take a modern approach to your AP systems. To learn more about how ICG can take your AP systems to the next level, contact ICG Consulting today for more information. Or, request a demonstration of one of our comprehensive AP automation solutions. You can also watch this short video to learn about all of ICG’s back-office solutions.


Posted on May 10, 2024