Ask the Tough Questions Up Front

As we roll into 2020, AP Automation is on the minds of financial leaders. It’s one of many digital transformation initiatives that are transforming the way companies conduct business. However, the AP automation landscape can be a bit confusing and a typical evaluation can often take months to complete.

The Typical Evaluation

Most customers approach the evaluation phase with a long list of requirements…requirements that most every AP automation provider support. Beyond that, they have a shorter list of requirements particular to their specific needs, followed by an even shorter list of nice-to-haves.

The Differentiators

What are often missing from the list are the questions that can have a significant impact on the success—or failure—of your project. We call these the “differentiators.”

  1. Does your solution provide native integration with our ERP?
  2. How long does it typically take to implement your AP automation solution? What is the cost?
  3. What effort is required by my IT staff during an implementation?
  4. How good is your OCR scanning? Does it require significant training? Do you provide TaaS (training-as-a-service) for invoices?
  5. Does your solution support mobile users? Can they input and approve invoices from a smartphone?
  6. Does your solution scale with increasing volumes? Do I need to purchase additional hardware or software to support scaling up?
  7. What is the structure of your pricing? Do I get unlimited users with the service?
  8. Can you provide an end-to-end solution that includes virtual cards and ACH?
  9. Do you provide a supplier portal?If so, what are its capabilities? Is there a fee associated with using it?
  10. Can suppliers access working capital solutions through your supplier portal?

Our Advice

Save yourself a lot of time. Ask these questions up front…before you dig into the long list of requirements that any good vendor will support. You will quickly shrink the number of vendors, and end up with a slate of very capable solution providers.