With all the questions Accounts Payable fields in a given day, staffers may feel more like an information booth than a Finance department. But are those queries eating into your efficiency?
Yes, it’s important for A/P staffers to respond to their customers — internal and external. But you want to be confident that’s happening as efficiently as possible.
Have your staffers spend a week tracking not only how many inquiries Payables gets, but how much of their time is spent responding to them.
Then compare your totals to those recently released by The Aberdeen Group:
- The best-in-class companies spend a quarter of their time (25.8%) responding to A/P inquiries, and
- Everyone else reported it eats up more than a third of their day (36.8%).
To shave as much time as possible off those percentages, no matter where yours falls, you can go a couple of routes:
- Technology. A bigger company can use everything from Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to online vendor self-service so customers can view the status of their invoices in your payment process on their own.
- Manage interruptions. You might establish “walk-in hours” for employees to come to A/P with questions once a day. With vendors, some companies have had luck setting up a “vendor question hotline” — a dedicated extension where vendors can leave their questions on voice mail, so A/P has time to research and call back when they have an answer.