Confessions of an AP Manager:
The 6 Day-to-Day Pain Points and Their Cures

Elizabeth Allen    August 26th, 2021 

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Throughout our years working in the AP automation space, we’ve spoken to our fair share of AP Managers. During this time, we’ve been privy to their innermost thoughts about the parts of their job that make them question whether or not they actually like their role. It’s incredible how a seemingly innocuous task can take your day from great to grating.

What are some of the small tasks that take up the bulk of your workday? What are things you’ve come to dread doing each day? But most importantly, how can you get back to loving your job, putting the fun back into the hours between 9 to 5? In this little “therapy session”, Dr. MHC would like to give you an opportunity to feel validation, to understand that you’re not alone in these headaches. And, most important, that there’s a cure.

1. Sick of Playing “Find the Invoice”?

Sick of Playing

“Once I hit submit, I have no idea where the invoice is in the process flow. It’s a totally mystery!”

As an AP Manager, you are constantly interrupted to be asked for the statuses of invoices. Each time you’re asked, your day comes to a grinding halt and priorities must shift so you can do go through the arduous process of tracking down the invoice in question. However, once you’ve processed the invoice, it’s not entirely clear where in the workflow it stands. It could be with an approver. It could be seconds away from being paid. It could be floating out in the void of space. Who knows?

That’s where MHC’s user-friendly dashboards come in. Get a glimpse into the status of all of the invoices currently making their way through the process. You can identify precisely where the invoice is, who you’re waiting on, and get a good idea of how much longer before it crosses the finish line. Clear labeling and easy-to-follow indications of the process steps will allow you to see the entire journey of that invoice at a single glance. You’ll gain advanced visibility into the process, improved productivity (due to less time spent manually researching), and overall better understanding of your entire process workflow (allowing you to adjust as need be) are invaluable when it comes to creating an efficient AP workflow.

AP administrations are also able to leverage a variety of visibility and productivity reports via the automated audit trail. Always know where workflow documents are located utilizing organized and convenient administrative reports. Identify where hang-ups are occurring, see and predict workflow patterns, and utilize these reports for your end-of-year documentation and analysis. The more information, the better!

2. Tired of Having Your Groove Interrupted so You Can Provide an Invoice Copy?

Interrupted Groove

“I had just gotten into the groove on a project when I had to stop everything to get a copy of an invoice to Procurement!”

Everyone feels their tasks are the most important. That’s just human nature. When another department asks you for something, the insinuation is clear that you’ll stop what you’re doing and get them the requested item- right then and there. Having to drop everything to get Procurement a copy of an invoice disrupts your normal workload and shifts your focus. And sometimes, it takes hours to get back into what you had dropped in the first place. This, in no way, benefits your action items or goals as an AP Manager.

MHC gives you in-context access to information. You have the ability to search invoices by vendor, GL code, amount, legal entity, or any other data. This easy-to-use repository and built-in related documents functionality grant you the ability to access all documents involved in the life of an invoice…with a single click. Increased productivity, ease-of-use in searchability, and the ability for employees outside of the AP Manager make your workday easier. With just a few clicks, give Frank in Procurement visibility on the status of the record- was it processed, was a check cut to the vendor? Start at requisition and drill down all the way to down to payment without hassle.

3. Wasting Your Time Chasing Down Approvals to Get Invoices Paid on Time?

Chasing Down Approvals

“So much of my time is spent chasing down approvers to the invoice can get paid on time!”

As an AP Manager, your biggest goal is to ensure your vendors are paid on time and correctly. However, a roadblock always seems to pop up when an invoice gets stuck with a particular approver… often, the same one each time. You don’t want to make a nuisance of yourself, but emails, chat messages, voicemails all seem to go unrecognized and unanswered. The process is completely deadlocked at approval and you’re watching the clock tick away.

A customized workflow to service both PO and non-PO approvals is the way to clear up those obstacles. Workflow participants are notified via email and are able to see and manage their active assignments. They are also able to view their approved and disapproved documents in read-only mode. Users have the ability to request more information from internal or external contacts to obtain the knowledge needed to pay the record. Administrators can use the previously mentioned dashboard to identify approvers who always seem to be where the buck stops… literally. Grant proxy access as needed, to approve the invoice and keep the process flowing.

4. Frustrated by Constant Vendor Calls Looking for Payment Status?

Vendor Calls Looking for Payment Status

“I am constantly getting calls from vendors, looking for payment status.”

All day long, AP Managers are being asked about the status of an invoice. But once you’ve submitted the invoice into record, it’s hard to understand just where in the workflow it stands. Even more difficult to recognize is the timeline for vendor payment. Each time you’re asked for an ETA, you are forced to stop everything you’re doing and go through a mundane process to determine where the invoice is in the process.

MHC’s Document Express eRemit module will take your Infor data, format it into non-negotiable communication, and transmit it your vendor via email. The check will be printed, simultaneously. Transform data into documents and transactions by customizing and distributing through MHC’s automated AP platform. Your vendors will never have to reach out to you for payment status. They will know based on the remittance communications automatically sent directly to them. Improved vendor relationships are inevitable, as your vendors will feel they have complete transparency and trust that they can expect timely payments on future transactions.

5. Weary with How Much of Your Day is Taken Up by Repetitive Tasks?

Repetitive Tasks

“Three days out of five, I can’t even stop to take a lunch break. Simply finding a moment to use the restroom takes some advanced planning. And so many of the tasks that take up my day are repetitive.”

You process large volumes of invoices each and every month, and most of them seem to fit into a common process that can be clearly defined and communicated. So why are you spending so much time manually entering invoices each month? Using MHC’s AP Automation Suite with Optical Character Recognition (OCR), you can achieve a high level of automatic data extraction and can accomplish automation data entry on most of your documents. A high level of straight-through/touchless process can be achieved in this scenario. As an AP Manager, make it so you and your team don’t even have to see an invoice other than to release it for payment at the final step. This provides your team more efficiency, fewer potential mistakes, and fewer late payments, freeing your team up for more value-added contributions to the company’s overall goals.

6. Nauseated at the Prospect of Invoice Exception Handling?

Invoice Exception

“So many of my documents are similar and I don’t even have to think about how to process them. But then you get those occasional one-off invoices that can be a real pain.”

The exception to the rule might only happen 5 to 15% of the time, but that’s where processes truly slow down and stall momentum. Things like add-on costs, invoice data that does not match PO data, duplicate invoices, and unfamiliar vendors are the exception that break the rule, every time.

With Image Express workflow, you gain the ability to trap and review documents that are outside of the norm and assign them to appropriate team members for additional processing. The user-friendly interface allows multiple team members, Procurement, or New Vendor creation, to easily identify and resolve those exceptions in an organized and timely manner. Duplicates are stopped in their tracks, to eliminate the possibility of double paying an invoice. Be an AP Manager that keeps the data moving with increased team efficiency, reduced duplicates, and timely payments.

MHC Document Express and Image Express are the cure to all that ails you when it comes to your Accounts Payable workflow. Strip the process of all of the seemingly small issues that create big headaches and prescribe a treatment of efficiency and accuracy that will allow you to get back to the elements of your AP Manager job that you love. 

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