Controllers come in all shapes and sizes. One may be responsible for leading various accounting managers and their own reports in the direction set by the CFO. Other controllers may themselves be the accounting department and report to the president or owner above them. Regardless of the company they keep, controllers are a company’s financial front line, and the responsibility to keep the day-to-day functioning efficiently and profitably lies squarely on their shoulders.
Manual AP processes can be a source of daily anxiety and many restless nights for a controller. Especially in today’s B2B world where financial agility is becoming increasingly imperative for companies to remain competitive, CFOs are leaning on their controllers harder than ever to give them sound financial insight faster.
Automated AP processes are making a world a difference to the working lives of controllers and their accounts payable teams. All you have to do to build an AP process that your controller will love is read what goes on daily inside their minds.
What Controllers Want:
- A way to increase visibility into cash flow – in real time would be incredible!
- Tools to better manage our working capital.
- The ability to get our hands on as many early payment discounts as possible.
- Reporting that makes sense. Reporting we can run in any conceivable arrangement.
- Never having to touch, find or physically store another paper receipt.
- Never making my team create or run another unread report again.
- Giving my team exactly what they need to do their best job, so I can do mine.
- A single place where all the right data lives.
AP automation completes every controller’s wish list by providing solutions that include interactive dashboards displaying information on cash flow; visibility across business units through integration with ERP systems; easy access to contractual terms and commitments; comprehensive (even self-service reporting); real-time invoice tracking; detailed audit trails; and anytime, anywhere access by authorized individuals to archived invoices and data.
Perhaps one of the greatest reliefs AP automation solutions can bring controllers is what this Entrepreneur.com article calls the “single source of truth,” or the assurance that any number, every number that a controller relies on to report up the line is accurate. And, the financial decisions made by higher-ups are always based on data that is comprehensive and sound.
What AP Auditors Want:
Auditors, on the other hand, are a different animal altogether. Though historically, auditing service providers made their money selling time-tiered audit services, the advent of AP automation has shifted their goals somewhat. Businesses with sophisticated auditing apps are benefiting from the ability of their client’s automated AP systems to enhance auditor judgment and assurance, especially those with solutions that are end-to-end.
Additionally, Audit Data Standards (ADS) are coming to play, and could revolutionize the integrity of AP auditing practices and add standards of consistency to what once was a very time-consuming and paper-heavy process. Having a central Big Data repository within the AP automation process is a key building block for enabling this synthesis in audit practice development.
Internally managed audits (as part of an analysis or pre-merger/acquisition) and those responsible for performing them benefit greatly from end-to-end, automated AP processes. Increased visibility, better oversight, access to real-time information and easily-managed data are just few of an automated AP process’ most tangible results. To the relationships between a company’s financial tiers as a whole – the owner, president or CFO, the controller, the accounting managers and their reports – it is not lost on anyone that this more fluid, efficient, synergistic process is creating feelings of greater teamwork, accomplishment, security, loyalty and trust. And outside of how impressive their marketing, how finesse their financials or how smooth their sales, these are the kinds of company attributes that can move mountains.