Webinar recap: How to choose the right platform for high-volume AP
In a webinar hosted by IOFM, Routable’s Co-founder and CEO Omri Mor shared his expertise and insights on high-volume AP with moderator Mark Brousseau, President of Brousseau & Associates who specializes in AP and document automation. Focusing on key growing pains of finance departments, "Looking Ahead: How to Choose the Right Platform for High-Volume AP" illustrated the key signs your AP department may need a payment platform and explored what to look for in a platform to best suit your high-volume payment needs.
If you didn’t get a chance to join Omri and Mark, we’re sharing the key points of the webinar here.
What is high-volume AP?
High-volume AP, sometimes referred to as mass payouts, occurs when a business outpaces its capacity to reasonably manage outgoing payments to vendors. It’s the difference between businesses that process zero to 100 monthly payments and businesses that may process anywhere from 500 to 5,000+ monthly payouts (e.g., real estate, the gig economy and online marketplaces).
Without a system to ease the strain, high-volume payables causes delays due to missed or ignored approvals and errors introduced by overwhelmed finance teams, leading to supplier frustration.
Safety in post-pandemic payments
Taking center stage in the discussion were the possible differences between pre-pandemic AP cycles and what we see today. When asked if these challenges were the direct result of businesses transitioning to a more remote workforce, Omri agreed that while AP scaling has always been a source of pain points, the increase in the use of remote resources to complete payment cycles has added obstacles. Without a centralized source of truth—a high-volume payments platform—finance teams are taking bigger risks sharing .csv files via email, which introduces data errors and payment confusion.
How approvals cause delays when scaling
According to Omri, the biggest question CFOs need to ask themselves today is whether their AP workflows will continue to be efficient as the business grows. Take approvals, for example. Nearly 70% of webinar attendees said they incorporate between two and three approval levels, which Omri explained are likely made up of payment approvals (i.e., Should this vendor be paid?) and an amount approval (i.e., Is this amount OK to pay?).
For some business models, this leaves stakeholders with a manageable list of approvals on a monthly basis. But imagine handling email influx for hundreds or even thousands of approvals. Omri strongly encourages proactive evaluation of current business practices to determine if a payment platform is the right fit. And beyond that, finding the right platform that doesn’t force your process into rigid, predetermined workflows but rather supports and “supercharges” your current process.
Top three signs it’s time for a high-volume AP platform
You’ve recognized the growing pains, but you’re still not sure if a high-volume platform is right for you. Omri suggested keeping an eye out for these signs:
1. AP is weighed down in tedious, manual tasks
The right payout platform reduces manual labor by 70% (a number Routable has seen with some of our customers). That’s nearly 30 hours in an average workweek. Imagine what your finance team could accomplish through forecasting and analytics instead of scanning spreadsheets.
2. Vendor onboarding takes longer than it should
A centralized onboarding experience offers privacy and security for vendors to keep them in the loop and confident, meaning you can leverage for better SLAs and competitive advantage.
3. Existing systems aren’t syncing
84% of businesses are unhappy with the syncing limitations between their accounting software and ERP systems. The right AP platform offers two-way syncing in the programs you're already using for real-time, reliable data.
Top four must-haves in a high-volume AP platform
When you’ve determined that an AP platform is just what you need to better manage your high-volume payouts, Omri recommends looking for the following criteria:
1. Integration with your current workflows
You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your existing processes just to have a high-volume AP platform. Supercharge your systems, don’t change them.
2. Vendor-centered onboarding and communication
Meet your vendors’ needs through visibility and payment preferences, even if it’s a specific USPS stamp! And work with a payment platform that allows you to elevate your own brand, building confidence with vendors that they’re working with you, not a third party.
3. Excellence in payment experience
From currency support to vendor tracking, a payment platform should take the guesswork out of payables. Yes, even those Nacha return codes. Empower your AP team with visibility and accessibility.
4. Built-in security and compliance
Keeping sensitive vendor financial data secure is critical in a digital landscape. A good AP platform ensures data encryption and PCI-DSS compliance for safe, secure transactions.
Learn more about AP automation
Want to learn more about accounts payable automation? These resources will get you started: