Powerful Ways Accounts Payable (AP) Automation Improves your Financial Security

Apr 15, 2021 12:27:43 PM

Maintaining your financial security can protect both your assets and your business reputation. How can implementing the right AP solution help you improve your financial security and mitigate the risks that every business encounters? 

Due to their complexity, financial processes have always been prone to different risks, both internal and external. This includes skimming, hacking, tampering with the checks and invoices, and more. AP Automation can mitigate that risk.

Understanding the powerful ways that Accounts Payable Automation can transform your financial security will help you better recognize these risks. 

We will help you get familiar with the amazing ways that AP solutions ensure financial security and help you with more precise financial forecasting. AP Automation can help you resolve costly mistakes and help you find the right direction for your future decisions while cutting costs and increasing efficiency along the way. 

Financial forecasting is crucial for establishing achievable long-term financial goals for your company, and utilizing unique AP solutions can optimize your processes and streamline payment efficiency.

Accounts Payable Risks

Some business owners are still hesitant to adopt new solutions to their existing AP workflow. They’ve become accustomed to the workflow they’ve relied on for years and haven’t run into issues. But with cybercriminals getting craftier and everything evolving at such a quick pace, will the same old ideas always be optimal? 

When dealing with financials, the reasons to innovate are worth looking into, and it’s essential you do so before your system breaks.

Let’s see some of the most common risks when doing things the old way and the most common causes of data breaches:

  • Tampering with paper checks: One of the old-fashioned things you may be doing that’s keeping you vulnerable is cutting paper checks. In fact, around 90% of businesses still process invoices manually, so there’s a decent chance you fall into this category. Not only are checks full of banking information, but they are easily faked and printed with incredibly advanced graphics programs.
  • Outdated equipment and programs: Another thing that may leave the door open to potential problems is the use of old or outdated hardware and software programs. At some point, most companies stop supporting and updating their older products, meaning you don’t get the security updates you need to keep your accounts and sensitive data confidential. 
  • Operating off the grid and safe zone: This is another issue that has a lot to do with today’s remote workforce. Many companies have been making positions remote over the past few years, but the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 increased our remote workforce exponentially. Each employee operating outside of your network is a potential doorman for scammers who want in.
  • Malware and ransomware: You’ve probably heard of terms such as spyware, malware, and ransomware. This dangerous type of data breach goes hand in hand with a human mistake — one wrong email or clicking on the incorrect link can cost you to lose all your valuable data or allow someone to hold your data assets hostage with a ransom.
  • Insider frauds: Sometimes, someone whom the company trusts can misuse trusted information for their own gain. 

Why Adopting AP Automation Benefits Security

Now that you understand some of the security risks presented by outdated procedures, let’s look at how implementing AP Automation into your workflow can keep you protected. AP Automation solutions create a few different layers of security alongside the entire financial process. 

AP Automation eliminates the need for paper checks

Few of us use checks in our personal lives anymore. We have quicker, safer solutions that we’ve all adopted. AP Automation is the faster, safer solution in this case. When payments are made electronically, like an ACH payment, it is routed through an intermediary. Meaning your account info isn’t floating around out there. 

Eliminating the risk of check fraud

Many companies actively monitor for fraud and duplicate invoices, so you can catch anything fishy before it becomes a problem. This makes AP accounting a whole lot easier than ever before. By cutting checks electronically, you remove or reduce latency issues and potential for fraud.

Additionally, the average response time on invoices is about 30 days from receipt to payment. Automating your AP department can significantly cut that time, and processing payments more quickly with fewer resources is always appreciated. It can even net you some early payment discounts that go directly to your bottom line.

It also reduces the amount your company spends on processing invoices by eliminating the time wasted with manual invoicing, meaning you have more resources to reinvest in your business.

AP Automation helps solve your access issues

Everyone from the President on down uses personal devices to access information. It’s not the most secure way to work, but it’s what we’ve gotten used to. AP Automation solutions provide a way to do that safely.

An automated AP system controls access and restricts use to authorized personnel. It also tracks changes made within the system, vastly improving your visibility into who is accessing and making changes to your data. Now you can easily see where wires get crossed and what may have been affected so that, in the instance of a mistake, any issue can be resolved before it becomes a larger problem. 

Since everything lives in the same environment, things like cross-references and audit trails happen quickly and accurately, and they can happen without a trip to the office. Not only is this incredibly convenient, but it cuts down on time and money wasted.

Better visibility of your process - less chance of fraudulent behaviors 

Accounting teams are constantly struggling with reporting because of various inconsistencies throughout the entire process. There is no need to reinvent the wheel all over again and get the entire financial reporting system jammed constantly. 

Centralize all paperwork in one unique data hub with the help of AP Automation solutions.

By increasing visibility over the entire financial process, you will get helpful insights through your accounts payable solution’s advanced analytics. 

All layers of security are in your hands

With a large amount of paperwork and red tape, it can be hard to remain in control of every aspect of your AP workflows. But to be successful, most companies are dependent on keeping everything in control and trackable. This applies to different multi-level approvals, invoices that match the orders, responsibilities for signing checks, and more. 

Behind all this, there are good intentions, but it is extremely difficult to organize and maintain. The game becomes even harder with teams operating separately and the number of invoices increasing. 

With a centralized AP solution, leaders can protect sensitive financial information by setting guidelines and a strict set of rules. You can add more levels of security that require multiple levels of invoice approvals, with better visibility and uninterrupted invoice flow.

AP Automation can help reduce errors

Not all threats come from someone outside the company. In fact, many issues are a result of simple human error. Whether we lose a little focus when we’re juggling too many tasks or we’re operating on three hours of sleep thanks to a sick child, we all make mistakes sometimes.

Automating your AP processes can help eliminate these errors by handling the most mundane tasks and the simple oversights that can cause you issues. Moving to a cloud-based AP solution ensures that things don’t get duplicated or overlooked.

It also makes answering any questions you may have much simpler by providing easy access to your paper trails. The days of digging through a wall of paper files only to find that the one you are looking for has fallen between the cracks are long gone. Now we can access audit trails from anywhere in the world in a fraction of the time it used to take. That saves money, time, and keeps data secure around the clock.

Understanding the full potential of AP Automation solutions

Understanding your potential problem areas and possible solutions is only half the battle. Even more important than understanding the problem is implementing a solution. 

You know that AP Automation security features are actively monitored and upgraded, so it will be a vast improvement over what you’re already working with. 

AP Automation adoption provides a very quick return of investment as it only takes up to 9 months to reach the full potential. It can also help you with improving the relationship between your vendors. 

If the security upgrade isn’t enough, the financial benefits of automating your AP department should create the value you are looking to add. If you’re still on the fence, that’s okay. TEAM IM is here to help.

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