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Flexible AP for an Uncertain Future

The unprecedented demands of 2020 have pushed current AP systems to their limits. As we’ve seen through the COVID-19 pandemic and the rush to transition everyone to work-from-home setups, your bill pay processes need to be able to adapt to meet the times. At many midmarket businesses, they weren’t ready.

Flexibility relates not just to the ability to change, but to how much change you can implement when and where you need to. While AP professionals have managed to keep systems up and running with innovative new approaches, most midmarket companies quickly came to realize that there were serious limits to how flexible traditional processes were.

The Limitations of Traditional AP

As midmarket companies scrambled to adjust to the new demands of the pandemic, they never actually stopped working. Instead, they switched to remote work, which required finding creative ways to handle processes like AP that have traditionally relied on manual tasks.

Every aspect of the traditional AP process had to find new flexibility if the entire AP function were to survive the last few months. Invoices used to be collected at the office, emailed or walked over to the person who needed to approve them, and then internally transferred back to AP for actual payments. With remote work, none of that process could remain the same. Special trips to the office or to peoples’ homes became necessary, even though they were risky and incredibly inefficient.

As remote work scenarios continue, the flexible solutions that have been implemented to-date to keep manual processes viable will ultimately be unsustainable. Companies have been forced to cut costs and staff and scrutinize expenses, meaning that AP departments need to do more with fewer resources, all while vendors are clamoring to be paid.

Even as companies emerge from the pandemic, how the virus will ultimately play out remains unknown. Your AP needs to be flexible enough to handle whatever comes next.

Future Flexibility

The lengths to which AP professionals have gone to keep AP up and running have been nothing short of admirable, but a more workable solution is needed for an uncertain future. 

Bill.com offers the automation and flexibility required to adapt to all the hurdles we stand to encounter in the next normal.

The way companies pay vendors is changing, in large part because vendors in uncertain financial times want to be paid faster. When you rely on manual payments, there’s little you can do to speed them up. 

With digital payments from Bill.com, payments can get to vendors faster than checks. This has the added benefit of allowing your company to stretch things out when budgets are constricted, because faster payments means you have more time to make them on your end.

Bill.com reduces the manual aspects of AP that require in-person invoice review, approval, and payment. The system allows you to set the controls and workflows you need to meet the demands of the moment. You can still have the assurance of separation of duties without all the delays that have traditionally come with it.

We don’t know how things will change as the virus evolves, but the one thing we can be sure of is that they will continue to change. In the next normal, having a flexible AP system will mean that those changes won’t disrupt business. Even for midmarket companies that continue to see budget cuts and hiring freezes, Bill.com is the fast and inexpensive way to address your current AP pain points and allow for AP flexibility no matter what occurs.

 

November 2, 2020
Mark Gervase
Director, Product Marketing, Bill.com
Mark works with accountants and finance professionals to achieve efficiency and intelligence through automation. He is a former CPA with experience in public accounting and corporate finance and has a background in helping companies use financial technology. Mark holds an MBA and BA in Economics from the University of California Berkeley.