Recently a former colleague and good friend wondered why I was continuing to work in the same field so long. “How can accounts payable be that exciting?” she asked me.

 

"It’s an area that is changing so fast,” I responded. “E-invoicing is removing paper invoices and introducing real transformation to the AP function.”

 

The question caught me by surprise. It wasn't until I read a recent Aberdeen report that I really understood my passion for the electronic invoicing, it was not just the reduction in paper invoices. What comes after removal of the paper invoices is what is now driving the passion for AP transformation.

 

In a recent research report from Aberdeen Group on payables automation, the analyst emphasized the value of e-payables beyond helping companies eliminate paper and taking cost out of their processes.  The report, entitled “Gaining Control in the Face of Uncertainty,” states that, e-Invoicing is critical for optimizing working capital and maximizing discount capture. Ariba’s success in this area with companies like AstraZeneca, and Nalco demonstrates how leading organizations are leveraging e-Invoicing to drive working capital strategies and mitigate liquidity risk in their supply chains.

 

This is quite a change from a few years ago, when AP scorecards focused on metrics such as counting keystrokes and the number of FTEs required to process paper invoices. Electronic invoicing unleashes entirely new opportunities to elevate the value of AP staff from data entry clerks to data analysts, and creates opportunities to improve the way AP manages its cash. Today it feels like we are moving at a very fast speed, almost at a nanosecond (well not really).

 

If you would like to learn more about the working capital impact of electronic invoicing, join us for our April 21st webinar with Sam Knox of CFO Magazine as he reveals his latest research and white paper entitled “The New Deals: Why Companies Are Deepening their Alliances with Customers, Suppliers, and Bankers in a Post-Recession Economy”. You can register for this free webinar at http://www.ariba.com/programs/invoicenow/

 

 

Is AP automation changing the way you work, and improving your company’s business performance?  Share your experiences and let’s continue the dialogue.