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What Do You Want Your AP Department to Become?

2013 goals for your Accounts Payable department

Happy New Year! For many people and organizations, the new year can be a time for change, driven by a commitment to improving the way we do things.

In accounts payable, the drive to continuous improvement inevitably leads to electronic invoicing. As a first step to improving the way AP handles invoice processing, many organizations consider scanning and optical character recognition (OCR), and improvements often result from eliminating paper and manual data entry. But for the high-performing accounts payable organization, there’s much more to be done. The larger opportunity comes from eliminating invoice errors, enforcing compliance, expanding early payment discounts to increase the returns on cash, and moving beyond scanning to become a powerhouse of touchless invoice processing.

Today, business rules in an electronic invoice network can eliminate the manual effort required to resolve invoice errors and exceptions. These rules detect invoice problems before they hit AP, and automatically return problem invoices to suppliers for correction and re-submission. Add to that the ability to deliver electronic purchase orders on the same network, and you can leverage “PO-Flip®,” where an electronic invoice is created from the data on the PO. This is a proven process for enabling the perfect payable, and ensuring that invoices will comply to your preferred suppliers and negotiated prices.

When you combine electronic invoicing with dynamic discounting, the value proposition takes another dramatic turn, and can shift the perception of  AP from a cost center to a profit center.


Welcome to the new world of collaborative finance, where electronic invoicing is a catalyst for helping accounts payable assume a strategic role. No longer restricted in focus to paying the bills, AP plays a vital role in finance by helping to manage cash better. That’s a new year’s resolution that more AP organizations should make.

About the author
Chris Rauen
Chris Rauen

Chris is responsible for marketing programs at Ariba that educate finance, procurement, supply chain, and other business professionals on the transformational potential of the Ariba Network and Ariba Financial solutions. Before joining Ariba, Chri... Read More >>>

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