What top-performing Accounts Payable and Procurement departments do differently.The Big Impact of AP Data

Gone are the days when accounts payable (AP) was seen as a necessary evil. For many organizations the former marginalized, back-office function is rising to the top as a strategic part of the business thanks to the valuable intelligence gleaned from AP’s data. Intelligence from this data can support major tasks and critical decision-making, and top-performing organizations are leveraging it to evaluate and enhance performance at multiple levels throughout the organization.

According to a recent Ardent Partners report, 81% of finance teams identified their AP data as “critical” or “important” to their financial operations.

But, where is AP data making the biggest impact?

(This is where procurement should start paying attention.)

  1. Freeing up time for strategic activities

By improving the handling of invoice exceptions, AP staff is available to focus on larger financial transformation initiatives. This also leads to improved visibility into financial data and even insight into day-to-day activities, adding further value across finance.

  1. Enhancing collaboration with procurement

According to Ardent Partners, more than half of finance teams are using AP data to boost collaboration and the relationship between AP and procurement. 60% of respondents said procurement uses the enormous amount of AP data gathered to support supplier management work. Procurement can also harness data on invoices to monitor contract compliance and support supplier rationalization undertakings.

  1. Planning ahead

Forecasting, budgeting, and planning is another area where AP data can add further value for an organization. And still more opportunities exist for this intelligence to be leveraged in planning payment strategies and understanding the impact of cash on an organization.

It’s time to align

It’s proven that AP data can fuel strategic decision-making – but only when shared across other areas of finance, especially procurement, as actionable intelligence. Ardent Partners notes that a little less than half of finance teams surveyed hope to increase collaboration between AP and procurement over the next year. These pioneers recognize that linking these two parts of the purchase-to-pay process and providing data visibility across functional lines offers greater efficiency.  With the help of purchase-to-pay automation technology, these organizations gain deeper insight into spend and supplier performance and benefits extend outside the organization to suppliers from a single linked process.

Are you leveraging your AP data to the fullest? Read the full Ardent Partners ePayables 2016: Eyes on the Prize to learn more about positioning your organization for top performance.

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