Accounts Payable Automation is …. Not!

Learn more about our Guest Blogger Chris Elmore.

I am happy that “not” jokes have died. Wayne’s World made the joke mainstream, but the movie Borat took it to an entirely new level. I write a lot about the positive nature of Accounts Payable Automation, but this time I thought I would swerve more towards the negative and explain what automation is not. However, instead of writing automation is not this and automation is not that, I thought I would make it a little more interesting (I hope) by listing the Top 5 Signs that your automated process is off the mark.

Here they are—What Automation is “Not”

  1. You have to hire people or your current people have to work overtime to support the software that has been purchased to automate your accounts payable process.
  2. If you are receiving over 75% paper invoices or checks and you do not get a one year ROI.
  3. The implementation process is longer than six months and involves endless customizations after the software has fully launched.
  4. The service provided (vendor) chosen to help you automate was surprised that you wanted to include invoices.
  5. At any point after automation you think to yourself, “I wish the paper was back”.

I use a common definition of Accounts Payable (AP) Automation—That it is only as good as the people, time, and effort that it frees up, and if that makes sense to you – you have one or more of the above signs you may be in trouble.


I write trouble to be dramatic, it doesn’t mean that you are sunk. If you have one of the above signs it means that you have work to do. Work can come for multiple reasons—like the service provider you have selected wasn’t a good fit, or your original plan to automate was somehow lacking or missed the mark. How could things have been done differently to ensure that you would have ended up with what Accounts Payable Automation IS versus what it is NOT? This is where Steve Smith comes in…

Agile Methodology and Managing Change

With Steve Smith of Esker—Learn more about Steve.

There are methods of implementation that have been developed to ensure successful deployment of an adopted Accounts Payable Automation process. Agile Methodology is a system that allows the users the benefit of hands on utilization of the platform during the very early stages of implementation and development. This allows those users the ability to see the platform and determine customizations from the get-go. This grants opportunity for customization to be made during implementation rather than post-launch. Agile Methodology spares companies from falling into what Accounts Payable Automation is NOT.

agile - methodology - software - implementation

Inevitably with implementation comes change… A lot of change. And let’s face it… Who likes change? Your AP staff has been doing the same, manual processes for years. While those processes are tedious, your staff has mastered the touch points, and they can do them in their sleep. Now, with deploying automation… You’re going to change that. And I’m sorry to say it, you might get some resistance from your team. And most importantly, you want a vendor that will help you manage the implications that come with change. Learn more about Change Management in this blog series.

Back to you, Chris…

Final Thought

Thanks Steve! With the 5 signs you can know that you are off track, with the Agile Methodology you can stay on track. It’s a perfect strategy to manage change in a world where change is the only, well unchanging thing (constant).

Want to know more? Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

Esker Inc.

Esker helps organizations eliminate paper and improve business processes by integrating on-premise and on-demand document automation with applications — for higher efficiency in sales order processing, invoicing, accounts payable and purchasing to shorten order-to-cash and procure-to-pay cycles.

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