Accounts payable does more than just compensate vendors—they pay them accurately and by their preferred methods, all while aligning with negotiated terms. All the data that’s necessary to execute AP needs to be managed and maintained by…someone.
More often than not, that “someone” is an AP team member who covers tediou tasks that ultimately carry important repercussions. But those tasks become more obsolete as technology develops. AP teams waste time and resources on manual, paper-based processes to determine who, how, and when to pay. That creates unnecessary inefficiencies in their procure-to-pay cycle, which—along with fraud risk—can take a bite out of their bottom line.
The longer you keep using a manual, paper-based data management process, the more payment status calls your AP team will field from vendors. AP teams spend plentiful hours handling those calls, which can cost a huge amount of annual labor time. Many teams use junior AP resources to collect, re-enter, and update vendor data in order to ensure accurate payments. But the core problem remains: does it make more sense for your team to sleuth out a monthly raft of missing checks and late payments due to faulty data, or to shed that duty and focus on strategic initiatives like payment-term negotiations?
The right payment solution can take the status-call burden completely off your shoulders. Once your provider scrubs your vendor list and other data for inaccuracies and determines the maximum number of card-accepting vendors, the next steps fall into place. A solution provider that offers a vendor payment portal and full-service support team can deliver valuable return on investment, enabling you to claw back the time previously lost in the process.
But of course, it’s not just your AP team that reaps the benefits—your vendors also get to reduce the effort it takes to hunt down payments. And you can leverage that courtesy when you use your newly saved hours pursuing better payment terms with them.
Security becomes another angle to the data-maintenance story. If your AP team hosts your vendor data in your ERP—or other system—you automatically and constantly expose your company to fraud risk. To offload the risk, it pays to find a service provider with a reputation for strict security controls and a quality compliance history.
Any reputable service provider that handles vendor data management functions will have specific expertise in compliance—from W9s to the master file. An SOC-compliant payment provider—one that regularly does compliance audit reports—can ensure that your vendor data remains safe and protected from both external and internal fraud threats.
It’s crucial that your solution provider assumes 100% of the liability when paying your vendors. A security-minded payment solution provider can deliver a payment guarantee that bonds and insures every payment transaction they facilitate.
Outsourcing your data management saves your company costs—which you can reinvest into the business—and time. When a provider bundles data management into an automated payment solution—instead of simply offering it as a standalone vendor management function—that provider offers clear value that will pay dividends.