Embracing Change: Revolutionising Accounts Payable in Schools with Automation

May 27, 2024

In the modern day, traditional methods of managing accounts payable can no longer keep up with the demands of modern institutions. Manual processes, like invoice processing and data entry, are time-consuming and error-prone. They also make it challenging to adapt to changing financial landscapes. The solution? Automation.

By embracing automation in accounts payable processes, schools can revolutionise their operations and unlock efficiency gains, accuracy improvements, increased visibility, and cost optimisation. Explore the transformative potential of automation in revolutionising accounts payable processes. By understanding this concept, businesses will see that shifting from legacy systems to automation will give them a competitive edge in the industry.

The Traditional Methods of Accounts Payable

Many organisations manage a wide range of tasks, including handling paper invoices, keying details into the system, matching invoices with purchase orders, understanding cash flow, fraud detection, and ensuring approvals are completed on time. Clerical mistakes like duplicate entries and incorrect data recording can lead to financial discrepancies that require additional time for auditing and corrections.

Existing manual approaches to accounts payable processes can result in lost or late invoices, which puts unnecessary strain on vendor relationships. Misplaced invoices can also carry the risk of late payment fees, which further impact the budget. Manual invoices and purchase orders are notoriously tedious processes that consume a large chunk of staff time and resources. This time could be used instead for strategic planning and decision-making.

The Rise of Automation

The arrival of automation was fueled by technological advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning and it has the potential to revolutionise the accounts payable landscape. Automation allows institutions to replace manual tasks with efficient, digitally-led processes, leading to a turnaround in operational efficiency and increased productivity.

In simple terms, automation is the process of applying technology, programs, robotics, or processes to achieve outcomes with minimal human input. Automation replaces manual invoice processing, data entry, and reconciliation with digital workflows in the context of accounts payable. These automated processes can handle high volumes of transactions with greater efficiency and fewer errors.

The Benefits of Automation in an Education Institution

Automation speeds up invoice processing times and reduces the number of errors, which allows employees at educational institutions to focus on higher-value tasks. Greater accuracy is also achieved when manual data entry is eliminated.

Automation can also generate substantial cost savings. With faster, more precise processes, institutions can take advantage of early payment discounts and avoid late payment penalties.

Embracing Change: Implementing Automation in Accounts Payable

The automation process involves more than selecting a platform and launching it. It requires a thoughtful strategy that addresses the concerns of all stakeholders involved and ensures a smooth transition from manual to automated processes.

A school must select the right automation tools to successfully implement accounts payable automation. They must consider factors like the software’s features, integration capabilities with existing systems, cost, and vendor support. Any new automation tool must integrate smoothly with the existing systems to avoid causing disruptions or requiring extensive reconfigurations.

Overcoming Challenges and Maximising Success

While the benefits of accounts payable automation are clear, the journey to implementation can present its own set of challenges. Some common challenges include:

  • Resistance to change: When employees are accustomed to working a certain way, they may resist change, and introducing automation can spark fears of job loss or concerns about adapting to new processes. Clear communication about the benefits of automation and its impact on the institution can help overcome resistance.
  • Technological barriers: These hurdles can range from outdated systems that aren’t compatible with new technology to a lack of technological expertise among staff. Overcome these challenges by investing in updated technology infrastructure and training employees on the new systems and software.
  • Effective change management: Change management strategies should be built around clear communication, comprehensive training, and ongoing support to make sure staff are comfortable and proficient in using the new systems.
  • Continuous improvement and optimisation: Maximising the benefits of automation requires continuous improvement and optimisation. This means regularly reviewing and refining processes, troubleshooting any issues that arise, and making adjustments as necessary to achieve the desired outcomes.

Embrace the Future by Automating Your Accounts Payable Process

The introduction of digital solutions in AP processes is an inevitable shift in the modern business landscape. Institutions that embrace this change can reap benefits that go beyond cost savings and better efficiency. They can achieve a competitive edge in an increasingly digital world.

Through automation, schools can streamline operations so staff are free to do other tasks, and improve accuracy and visibility in their financial management. Despite possible challenges, with the right strategies and preparation, schools can adopt and succeed with automation.

Embracing automation is a necessary decision for institutions that want to stay competitive and succeed in today’s financial landscape. By leveraging automation, schools can focus their resources on what truly matters: offering a quality education to students.

Get started with Alii

With solutions suited to your organisation and a range of industry leading integrations, Alii ensures your team is in safe hands.