Shared Services | 4 Ways to Extend the Value of ERP Investments with AP Automation
Extend ERP Investments
Many enterprise resource planning application (ERP) designers do not optimize their solutions. Accounts payable frequently relies on manual paper-based processes. Consequently, data fed into the ERP is incomplete, incorrect or not timely. The processes are inefficient, and decision-makers do not have access to key information.
The impact of manual and paper-based accounts payable processes is visible in shared services centers’ increasing growth. The invoice processing is more complex, and as they work to extend ERP investment, businesses are more likely to use multiple ERP applications in an operation, region, or worldwide.
Fortunately, there is a way to extend ERP investments. In a shared services environment, organizations centralize and standardize their functions such as accounts payable, accounts receivable and human resources. Additionally, they consolidate systems. As a result, processes become streamlined, more efficient, and less costly to run. A shared services organization differs from business process outsourcing, whereby functions such as data-entry that were previously carried out internally are handed over to an external third party outside the organization.
With a shared services organization, a centralized separate group within the company is established to do the work. The benefits of a shared services organization include economies of scale and standardized processes. While a shared services approach to accounts payable processing clearly delivers significant long-term benefits as it works to extend ERP investments, it creates complexities for businesses that rely on manual, paper-based processes.
Overall, 53 percent of businesses describe their invoice processing as slightly or significantly more complex compared to two years ago, according to the Institute of Financial Operations (IFO). Additionally, nearly three-quarters of the manufacturers surveyed by IFO (70 percent) described their accounts payable processing as slightly or significantly more complex compared to two years ago. This is promising evidence of organizations making efforts to extend ERP investments.
This whitepaper details:
- The growth of accounts payables departments operating as part of a shared services organization
- The challenges of manually processing invoices in a shared services environment with multiple ERP applications
- How an ECM solution works
- Extend ERP investments by integrating with an ECM solution