Once year-end responsibilities die down, your A/P department can finally focus on its agenda for the rest of the year.
Two months in, 2021 is already unlike any other. Companies are still operating in the midst of a pandemic. And your A/P team’s doing everything it can to carry out policies and procedures accordingly, all while paying vendors and reimbursing employees in a timely manner.
Despite these current challenges, A/P still has big goals slated for this year. When asked what’s included on their 2021 agenda, A/P pros said:
- improving A/P reporting and analytics (48%)
- eliminating paper and reducing manual tasks (38%)
- enabling more vendors to submit electronic invoices (32%), and
- implementing A/P automation (29%).
That’s all according to Ardent Partners’ new report, Accounts Payable Metrics That Matter in 2021.
A strategic outlook
For many companies, getting more knowledge and visibility into A/P operations and data is the No. 1 priority on the agenda. That, in turn, will help drive A/P toward being a more strategic, valuable business partner. (By the way, that’s happening, too. The report also found A/P’s perceived value has grown from 52% in 2018 to 55% in 2019 to 60% in 2020.)
For CFOs, it’ll be important to think about where your A/P team currently stands – and how you can promote them to grow and be more autonomous in 2021. For example, encourage them to come to you with ideas that align with this (or a more company-specific) A/P agenda.
What tools or practices can they implement for better reporting and analytics? How can they modify manual tasks, giving them extra time for strategic duties? Do they have ideas for how to get more vendor buy-in for e-invoices and e-payments? And depending on your budget and digitization priorities, is this a year where A/P can look to implement automation that promises a solid ROI?
Considerations like these will help A/P stay motivated – and make significant improvements – in 2021.