The global pandemic of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has turned the entire world on its head, some non-essential businesses have been forced to close, others are seeing a downturn in customers, employees are getting ill and your AP Staff are not immune to anything and probably feeling the pressure of all of this.
Businesses are quickly being forced to re-evaluate how they operate and conduct daily business. The day-to-day routines that we have all been accustomed to for so long have been disrupted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The company you work for may be switching gears at this very moment and having to react to the current situation. At every level of the organization people may be rethinking policies, having to adjust business processes and work schedules as they try to figure out the best course of action.
So how will your Accounts Payable Team manage their operations when there is so much uncertainty right now? We've outlined 4 key areas for AP Staff to focus on to help keep the accounts payable process flowing, your suppliers happy and goods/services coming in.
1. A/P Staff conditions
To continually meet the needs of both internal and external customers, you first need to ensure your A/P Staff is well equipped to do so. If your company’s like most, it’s advised employees who can work from home to do just that.
Many A/P departments use telecommuting as a perk for their staff, so you may already have clear remote work requirements outlined. If your team’s less familiar with working from home, make sure your A/P lead communicates how it works and what’s expected.
Remote AP Processing systems and solutions can help to provide AP departments with direct access to electronic invoices while providing remote users the ability to review and approve invoices from any device anywhere in the world.
For example, do staffers have all the necessary access, connectivity (Internet) and equipment (scanner, printer) they need? Must they stick to normal business hours? Should they use specific digital tools/platforms to communicate with your team? What technologies are they permitted to use? Which brings us to …
2. Fraud concerns
Working at home spurs more fraud threats. As mentioned recently, remote work is one of the top cybersecurity threats in 2020, since homes and public places aren’t as secure as corporate networks.
Scammers know that lots of people are working from home right now and are already devising scams to obtain private data and money. In fact, they’re using the coronavirus specifically as an email hook to get people to click (e.g., links promising updates and stats). So, remind your A/P staff to stay especially alert on the tech front.
A benefit of utilizing an online AP processing system is that there are checks, balances and controls that will identify potential fraudulent invoices from making their way into your payable process
3. Vendor management
Looking at business more broadly, it’s clear that the coronavirus pandemic is having a huge impact on companies’ productivity, revenue and supply chain. Most are trying to maintain operations while protecting employees and customers.
That’s why it’s critical to make sure A/P Staff knows how your vendors are faring, if their normal ops are changing and how the payables process might be affected or interrupted. Also, make sure you’ve discussed your current strategy for paying vendors, since you may want A/P Staff to focus more on payment timing to be strategic with cash flow.
An accounts payable processing system can assist in these areas by providing A/P Staff the visibility and control they need in order to keep the payable process moving and your vendors up-to-date regarding the progress and status of their invoices.
4. Employee communications
Along with staffers and vendors, there are other employees in Finance and Purchasing who A/P may have to make a little extra effort to stay in the loop with right now. You could suggest scheduling routine conference calls to get status updates and discuss potential problems.
And AP processing aside, you’ll also want to keep communications open overall to ensure that cash flow is in sync with your ever changing business needs.
This information is intended to provide basic helpful information and in no way intended to provide, diagnosis, represent any type of diagnosis or healthcare solutions to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.
For more information regarding our remote accounts payable processing solutions and services, please contact us directly. Our remote AP processing services and solutions are trusted by iconic brands like Welch’s and Yankee Candle and across all types of industries from manufacturing and retail to healthcare and high-tech.
Portions of this article credited to the CFO Daily News.
Vision360 Enterprise Accounts Payable Automation Solution by BlueCreek Software reduces time wasted chasing down paper invoices by automating invoice approvals, eliminating manual data entry, eliminating paper invoices and reducing processing costs.