Transparency and Visibility: Reporting on your Accounts Payable

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The key to making good decisions is good information, and sound judgment. Now, admittedly, I don’t have much to do with your judgment—but I have quite a lot to say about your information. Where does it come from? How comprehensive is it? Is it objective? In real time? Are you pulling it out of Excel spreadsheets, or getting it from someone’s best guesstimate?

I’ve had a dozen conversations centered around information, and its availability, in the last week alone. Controllers, CFO’s, and Accounts Payable Managers—all of them want to know what their work looks like. Some of their key concerns are related to being able to determine how long it takes to process an invoice, or where their invoices are, because they’re constantly getting lost in the shuffle. Where are the bottlenecks? How can we resolve them? What is the company’s cash position, and can we control it better if we have greater visibility?

Visibility and transparency: these are two of the greatest advantages to having an automated Accounts Payable system in place—you can see everything. Thank you, SQL Server Reporting Services.

How many invoices are currently being routed for approvals? Bip.

Why are there so many invoices stuck in review? Bip.

How do my Payables look stacked up against my Receivables? Bip.

How quickly is my company processing invoices through their payment cycle? Bip.

(Now, I want you to go back and read that again, only picture Raoul Silva asking James Bond these questions.)

One of the things that is often overlooked in choosing a system that automates Accounts Payable is the reporting, and that’s a mistake, because it is one of the most important components to ensure success. Don’t mistake me—the ability to search across a system, by keyword or full text searching, reliable workflows to route invoices for approvals, a consistent and fast way to import and tag invoices, integration with your accounting system—these are all very important! But if you can’t see where everything is, then you are missing a major piece of the puzzle.

How many of the questions that I’ve listed above can you answer in less than thirty seconds, based on the system that you’re currently using? If your answer isn’t all of them, then you should definitely give us a look-in, based on that alone!

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