From COVID to the Great Resignation to Quiet Quitting, it has become increasingly clear that modern employee engagement requires more than ping-pong tables and free snacks in the office.
The tools you give people to do their jobs can shape their day-to-day work, eliminate unnecessary stressors, and free them up to focus on more fulfilling, impactful work, sending them home each day with a sense of purpose and importance.
When you think about building a sustainably great, employee-first culture, you might not automatically think about accounts payable, but here are three companies who saw an uptick in employee morale after automating AP.
Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency (ARORA)
Before automating AP, ARORA processed invoices manually, which meant managers and directors were dealing with a lot of paper. If an invoice was misplaced or not addressed in a timely fashion, the finance team would re-print it on pink paper to get the approver’s attention.
It may sound like a small thing, but sometimes small things cause unnecessary stress.
“They hated seeing all the pink paper in their boxes. It drove them crazy!” said Tasha Flowers, ARORA's Director of Finance. “Now, they just get a short, sweet reminder e-mail from Beanworks to go and approve their invoices. No more pink paper!”
AP automation has also made life easier on Flowers and her teammates, giving them peace of mind knowing when a manager or director approves and does their allocation, it goes directly into the system, leaving little room for error and eliminating internal games of “he said, she said.”
“The accounting staff never has to try and interpret sloppy handwriting or remember who said what and when. It's all in Beanworks, and it's got your name on it!” Flowers said.
Association for Institutional Research (AIR)
AIR also saw a lift in their finance team's morale by getting stacks of paper out of their routines.
“With our data and invoices in a single, digital location, there is no need to flip through filing cabinets, said Charles McCumber, AIR's Director of Finance. “The annual tradition of hauling three or four boxes per year over to a storeroom has finally come to an end!”
McCumber added that people seem less daunted by a list in their approval queue than a physical stack of documents on their desk. These are little things that aren't little things at all. With the current state of economic uncertainty, employees are dealing with stressors out of the company's control, which increases the importance of controlling the stressor you can.
Two of the most common reasons organizations pursue AP automation are the money and time saved. The full value of automation is realized in what employees do with the time they get back.
“In finance, there is so much analysis you can do, and that you want to do to help your team and your company move forward, but without automation and without efficient, fast processes, it's easy for that work to fall to the bottom of your daily priorities,” she said.
“When you've got an $86,000 invoice that needs to get approved, you've got to make sure everyone is looking at it,” said Miryana. “With our previous process, that took a lot of time. Now, we've cut that process down by three business days because we don't need to go search the AP inbox and follow up.”
Doing more strategic, impactful work is good for the overall health of an organization, but also for the individual health of the employees who get to do the work.
If you'd like to explore the impact AP automation can have on your organization, contact us.