One of the most challenging aspects of running a business is the accounts payable. There are many reasons for this – cash flow concerns, keeping track of vendors to pay, sending out the checks, etc. are all aspects that any A/P department must handle. Historically these have been done manually, and typically still most businesses enter all these supplier bills manually. However as your business grows, financial automation is key and it becomes almost a necessity in this fast-paced economic environment to automate you’re A/P.

If you’re looking to automate your A/P process, here are five ways to do so:

1) Get a package that’s SaaS-

One of the revolutions of the modern internet is SaaS (Software as a Service). The idea of this is similar to cloud computing in that you access these services over the internet so you don’t have to worry about having an IT department to support it. Most SaaS based software will help you automate your A/P by keeping track of vendors, payments, and so on. You can also use it as an easy way to track KPI’s. Many packages will also help you with basic projections, helping you to get a feel of where your business is headed in the future. This is absolutely critical for managing cash flow. The best part is that SaaS based applications are relative-headache free and can be configured to have the look and feel you want so you won’t have to be stuck with a package that doesn’t suit the rest of your business.

2) Consult with specialists

Another way you can switch over your AP system is to actually pay a financial consultant firm to recommend software that will best suit your business. They will often be able to analyze your business requirements and eliminate the headaches when switching to an automated system. This financial consultant firm should be reputable, however, as you don’t wish to trust your sensitive information with any one.

3) Get a System that can Read Your Data

When switching to an automated system, it’s important to know that you can import your existing data correctly and that the system understands it. As such, interestingly one of the best ways to automate your AP process is to choose a solution that can read the supplier bills data. Using this as a way to limit the plethora of packages out there means that it can be a good place to start when beginning the financial automation process.

4) Eliminate bookkeeping data entry

Once you have an idea of a system, you can eliminate bookkeeping data entry by automatically categorizing all of your expenses. This way you can basically eliminate most of the manual work and make your A/P department lean and efficient.

Regardless, of how you go about it, automating your AP system is absolutely critical to ensuring the long-term success and viability of your company. Focus on getting your existing data read, consolidating all of your business expenses into one system. The benefits of automation are extraordinary and efforts that would typically take people a long time (such as searching bills or three-way matching) can take a SaaS services seconds. These is time you can be using to develop your business in other ways!

Achieving financial automation is definitely something you will never regret, so start on it today!