Breaking Through the AP Bottleneck

One of the things we hear the most in the community management space these days is that the industry is growing at a rapid rate, but the complexities and challenges are increasing at the same pace. The ability to be nimble and flexible to quickly adapt and accommodate emerging needs and new technologies is essential for growth and a competitive must-have. 

A common pain point that often hinders the efficiency of community management operations is the cumbersome and time-consuming accounts payable approval process. For most organizations, securing approvals for vendor payments involves navigating a complex maze of multi-level processes. This manual approach can lead to bottlenecks, delays, and an unnecessary drain on your team’s resources. Imagine having to chase down multiple signatures for a routine vendor payment, causing delays that could impact vendor relationships and even incur late fees. 

Business Impacts

Operational Delays: A manual approval process can result in delays in vendor payments, affecting the smooth operation of community services. 

Resource Drain: Your team’s valuable time is spent chasing approvals, taking away focus from more strategic aspects of community management. 

Adversely Affect Vendor Relations: Delays in payments may strain relationships with vendors, result in the forfeiture of early pay discounts, ultimately impacting future collaborations, and potentially leading to suboptimal service or the termination of the relationship. 

The most straightforward solution to address fragmented payment and approval processes is to bring all stakeholders together and streamline the entire workflow through a unified and fully integrated platform, such as Enumerate Central. Bringing all stakeholders together in a unified hub, offering complete visibility, and eradicating AP bottlenecks. Not only do you eliminate costly disjointed third-party portals and countless reminder emails pleading for action, but with tools like automatic notifications, reminders, approved recurring payments, threshold limits, and real-time updates throughout the approval process you can expedite the entire workflow from invoice acceptance to digital payment. 

What should you look for when searching for a payment solution? 

AP solutions can seem similar on the surface but can differ with wide a range of functionality and features. Here is a list of key attributes to ensure your digital payment solution drives AP efficiencies, reduces costs, and enables up to 100% electronic payments. 

  • A Single, Simple Workflow: Ensure a unified workflow for all payments, offering a consolidated, real-time view of accounts payable workflow. The system should seamlessly integrate into your current accounting system and processes, which will provide accounting staff greater visibility and control over payments.
  • End-to-End Payment Support: Know what support you will receive. Is there a dedicated line of support available to you and your vendors if any payment issues arise? To arrive at the most efficient resolution you will want to avoid being transferred between third parties, stuck in limbo not knowing when your issue will be resolved. Be sure to know what type/level of support and what their operating SLAs are before signing any long-term contracts.
  • Flexibility and Scalability: Avoid solutions that will not grow with you. Selecting software that can evolve with your needs is crucial for staying ahead and maintaining a competitive edge. Opting for a solution that offers regular releases of new features and incorporates emerging technologies ensures that your payment processes remain efficient and up-to-date.
  • Ask questions like:

    How often do you update your software?

    What is your product roadmap look like?

    How do you keep up with evolving technology?

    How often do you release new features and is there a cost?

  • Payment Optimization: Payment optimization ensures that 100% of your suppliers can be paid electronically with the payment method that meets their needs and this will also help incent suppliers to migrate from costly paper checks to digital payments.
  • Centralized Vendor Management: The importance of having a centralized hub for vendor management that integrates directly into your Accounts Payable (AP) software cannot be overstated. This centralized hub serves as the nerve center for all vendor-related activities, consolidating crucial information and functions into a single, accessible platform.

If you’re not quite ready to fully commit to a new software solution, there are several steps you can take to explore improvements while conducting thorough research. Consider implementing incremental changes or exploring temporary solutions to address specific pain points. This phased approach allows you to gather valuable insights, assess the impact of changes, and ensure that any future software adoption aligns seamlessly with your organization’s needs. Take the time to thoroughly research and analyze potential solutions to make an informed decision that best suits your requirements. 

Potential Incremental Changes:

  • Utilize Cloud-Based Solutions: Transition from paper to digital and cloud-based systems for easy accessibility and collaboration among stakeholders. Cloud solutions enable real-time tracking, reducing the need to maintain physical paperwork.
  • Establish Clear Approval Workflows: Define and implement clear approval workflows to ensure a systematic and efficient process. Identify key stakeholders and establish automated notifications for timely approvals.
  • Enhance Communication Channels: Foster transparent communication among stakeholders involved in the approval process. Utilize collaboration platforms to facilitate quick decision-making and issue resolution.
  • Invest in Training and Education: Provide training to staff members on the use of new tools and technologies. Educate stakeholders about the benefits of streamlined processes and the importance of timely approvals.

Do you want to learn more about how Enumerate Central is at the forefront of simplifying and driving efficiencies in AP and all areas of community management?