AP Automation

Top 4 AP Automation misconceptions — and what you need to know

Leverage AP and Payments Automation to focus on more strategic initiatives without impacting your AP team's existing workflows and processes.

Change doesn’t come easy, and this can be particularly true for Accounts Payable teams that are considering a new software solution.

While integrating a new software solution into your existing system does take some time, resources, and effort, integrating AP Automation and Payments Automation into your existing processes and workflows probably isn’t as painful as you may think.

After building our business around Accounts Payable Automation since 1997, we’ve heard from many customers and prospects alike who are understandably apprehensive about expanding their existing tech stack outside of Workday.

In an Ascend-hosted coffee chat on reimagining AP Automation with payments, our in-house experts and partners at Edenred Pay, who helped us to develop Ascend Payments, tackled some of the most common objections and concerns that we’ve heard over the years.

Webinar Deck Intro Slide

Key Takeaways (TL;DR):

  • AP Automation is designed to eliminate the need for manual tasks so your team can focus on more strategic work.

  • Since AP Automation and Payments Automation is unified in a single system, there’s no need for your team to create disparate workflows and stitch them together.

  • Though AP Automation and Payments Automation works in sync with Workday, it doesn’t require people on your team to change what they do within the system.

  • Even if your organization isn’t working with a supplier to accept virtual card payments, you may be paying for the costs to support it on their end already.

"AP Automation will eliminate my job." 

Though an AP Automation solution can help you complete tasks faster and reduce the need for manual work, this type of technology isn’t designed to replace anyone on your AP team.

Even if your AP team standardizes automated workflows, there will always be more work to be done.

Since a true AP Automation solution can automatically process a vast majority of an organization’s supplier invoices and payments, you and your team can spend less time on manually coding invoices, matching invoice lines, and other tedious tasks.

Instead, this newly regained time can be spent on cleaning up your supplier data, working with suppliers to get better payment terms, implementing a purchase order system, and other strategic initiatives that can sometimes fall by the wayside or get deprioritized.

"We don't want to change our current workflows or approval structure."

There are times when organizations need to make some drastic changes when they adopt new software solutions, but weaving touchless invoice processing and Payments Automation into your current processes is no hassle at all—at least with Ascend.

Since invoice approvals happen in Workday and often involves people in Accounts Payable, you don’t have to worry about overhauling your organization’s current processes.

You don’t even have to change how settlement runs are handled — settlement specialists can still go into Workday and create settlement runs.

To be sure, touchless invoice processing is designed to automate the invoice ingestion and coding process for your AP team, while Payments Automation facilitates the supplier payment process once settlement runs are initiated.

"We don't have the resources to add another integration and system."

It’s safe to say that Accounts Payable teams are often lean and take on an ever-increasing amount of work as their organizations grow.

With that in mind, the prospect of embracing a new software solution and adapting to the changes that come with it doesn’t sound very appealing.

The good news is that an integrated invoice-to-pay solution—at least the one developed by Ascend—isn’t another integration that you need to add to your organization’s tech stack in Workday.

If your provider of AP Automation and Payments Automation solutions is a certified Workday partner like Ascend, your organization can use the same set of integration system security groups and integration system users that are already in place.

Since touchless processing for supplier invoices and Payments Automation is completely integrated in Ascend, the entire lifecycle of an invoice can be managed within a single platform, from email ingestion to payment disbursement.

Payments Automation Workflow Diagram

"My vendors won't accept virtual card payments"

There was a time when credit cards and ACH payments were the fastest, safest, and easiest ways to pay vendors without having to mail out a physical check.

In more recent years, single-use virtual cards—a digital version of traditional credit cards—have quickly become a more secure, fast, and hassle-free way to pay vendors.

What’s not always certain is whether suppliers may be willing to accept virtual card payments, especially if they’re already comfortable with getting paid by ACH, check, or credit card.

Regardless of whether your organization is paying vendors by virtual card or not, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re already paying into the cost of doing so anyway.

When vendors go through the setup process to operate their business, they need to determine whether card payments will be accepted or not. If suppliers decide to accept card payments, it’s generally factored into the cost of doing business.

There are also significant benefits for suppliers who accept virtual card payments, including reduced exposure to fraud and preferred-vendor status over those that don’t accept virtual cards.

Supercharge your AP team's workflows with invoice-to-pay automation

Adopting new solutions and workflows for your organization requires a fair amount of risk—some hypothetical and some informed by past experiences—as well as a considerable investment of time and resources.

Though incorporating AP Automation into your existing systems requires some time and adjustments, it generally shouldn’t impact your existing processes or workflows, much less the overall makeup of your team.

Want to find answers to other common questions and concerns that AP teams have shared with us? Check out our coffee chat on how automating supplier payments fits into the overall picture of AP Automation and touchless invoice processing.

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