Saving Time With Automation? Where to Refocus Your AP Efforts

When you take menial tasks off your plate, you’ll find opportunities to contribute to value-added initiatives for your FI — and maybe even advance your career.

In a year marked by uncertainty and disruption, many financial institutions automated their AP to weather the storm. What they quickly discovered is that automating AP not only saves time, increases efficiencies, and helps navigate times of disruption, it also gives FIs large and small a strategic advantage.

Since your bank is already taking advantage of the benefits of automated AP, let’s go ahead and address the question that has undoubtedly crossed the mind of more than one AP professional: Does AP automation put my job at risk?

Fair question, but the short answer is a resounding, no! In fact, automating AP represents an opportunity for a hardworking AP professional like yourself to actually advance your career. Talented individuals within the accounting department are too often mired in the redundant manual accounting functions that are necessary to maintain outdated, paper-heavy AP processes.

Here are three areas where you can refocus your efforts and ultimately advance your career thanks to the time-saving benefits of automating your back office:

Customer Service

Fast growing and forward-thinking FIs are differentiating along customer service lines. These days, there are more banking options than ever before, and customers are demanding a greater degree of personalization from the brands they support. This includes the FIs with which they entrust their hard-earned money.

In short, if you’re not providing exceptional customer service and going above-and-beyond to earn and keep your customers’ business, they likely won’t stay around for long. Before automating critical accounting functions, most AP professionals are simply stretched too thin to do anything but keep up with the demands of manual processing.

If you’re spending 70-80% of your workweek printing checks, filing and stuffing envelopes, and chasing down approvals, you’re not likely to be able to provide much support on the customer service side.

AP automation frees you from time-intensive, manual processing and allows you to focus more of your valuable time on customer service, effective vendor management, and finding efficiencies and processes that will benefit your entire team, not to mention your own career trajectory.

Strategic Planning

Perhaps the greatest benefit of automating AP is the ability to reallocate your time toward more value-added, strategic objectives. When you’re beholden to manual data-entry and outdated AP processes, it can feel impossible to focus on process improvements, new systems implementations, cost projections, and resource allocation.

When you eliminate the redundant, time-consuming tasks that formerly ate up the bulk of your day, you can actually free up the mental bandwidth to find new and exciting ways to bring value to your department.

Automated AP gives you the assurance that your accounting reports are up-to-date and that your financial reporting is trackable and accurate. Armed with up-to-the-minute, complete visibility into invoicing and payment history, you can strategically plan how to take the greatest advantage of early payment discounts, volume rebates and other vendor incentives.

In a nutshell, it’s a shift away from mechanical accounting functions to a more strategic management mindset, where important questions get the focus they deserve. 

Where are we spending our money and how can we better analyze our spending trends? Are there opportunities to achieve a greater economy of scale by consolidating vendors that currently provide crossover services? Where can we invest in time or cost savings, and how can we provide better customer service?

These types of questions propel sustainable growth and help forward-thinking banks stay ahead of the curve. Unleashing talented AP professionals to tackle value-added initiatives puts FIs in the best position to compete, grow and expand. 

Support for Acquisitions

Accounting professionals are given critical responsibilities for good reason — you are meticulous, experienced, and smart. Automating AP workflow frees up time to utilize these skills and expertise to help navigate the intricacies of any mergers or acquisitions your FI may be undertaking.

Mergers and acquisitions require a huge amount of financial planning and reporting, and rely heavily upon accurate, verifiable and transparent financials that can easily be called upon for legal and compliance needs.

The optimal AP automation solutions meet and exceed strict operational compliance needs for financial institutions and make it possible for traditionally over-extended AP employees to dedicate time to mission-critical tasks for a smooth acquisition.

With complete audit trails and financial reports at the tip of your fingers, you won’t have to spend time hunting down information, but you will be able to provide any needed documentation at the drop of a hat. With your automated AP workflow in place, you may finally find yourself getting ahead of the curve.

Let’s say your branch is acquiring a new wealth management company early next year and expanding with another branch location a few months later. You’ll have time to focus on consolidating financial information for the new entities so that you can help make defensible projections for what your FI’s expenses might look like in the future.

It’s all in a day’s work when you can lean on automation to help you stay focused on the goals and objectives that matter most. If your FI has not already made the transition to automated accounts payable, contact us today to learn how BankTEL is helping banks and credit unions turn pain points into strategic advantages.

What Our Clients Are Saying

We just had our first external audit with ASCEND. I scheduled a 30-minute sit-down with the auditor to look at specific items. This process would have taken about six hours before ASCEND. The auditor couldn’t get over how easy and accurate it was. She said at least 10 of her bank clients immediately came to mind, that should start using BankTEL. She took a stack of my cards, to give to the accountants at these banks, in case they wanted to call with questions.

Nicole HulbertSeaside National Bank & Trust

I’ve been through the conversion process to new software before, and it’s usually a nightmare. Nothing balances and nothing works. But with ASCEND, things balanced and things worked. It was a very easy move.

Mendy CollierRegent Bank

With BankTEL, everything was more streamlined, there was better reconcilement, better functionality and better security on the user-side of things. It was a major step up for us.

Heath PrescottFarmers & Merchants Bank of South Carolina

Banks deal with accounting every part of every day. It’s a core part of the business. To be able to maneuver through the system and have the detail of records, the tracking and reporting that are available at BankTEL, was long overdue. Ascend is leagues ahead of where we were previously.

Tony AtecaSecurity Federal Bank

One thing I like about BankTEL is that they always want to know what you want and how they can make their product better. They like to listen to customers.

Lynn McKeeBankWest