Treasury and finance professionals are under siege.
They must balance the triple-whammy of:
- Ever-increasing regulations, mandates and audit rules
- New security threats from sneaky, tech-savvy crooks near and afar
- Heightened pressure to keep operational costs in check
The Importance of Audit and Compliance Preparedness
In fact, audit and compliance preparedness is the top metric to accounts payable departments – ahead of hot-button measures such as error rates, staff productivity, Days Payables Outstanding, invoices paid on time, and invoice processing costs, according to IOFM’s AP Automation Study. Senior execs believe that compliance and risk management is among the top finance and administration tasks.
But maintaining internal controls over supplier payments is a tall order in a traditional check-centric environment. Manual, paper-based payments processes make it extremely difficult to:
- Track invoice history and approvals
- Ensure consistent adherence to approval policies and separation of duties guidelines
- Safeguard chain of custody
- Prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data (such as banking information)
- Readily provide all the information required for audits
- Prevent staff from back dating documents
- Keep staff from creating fake invoice authorizations/making unauthorized payments
- Prevent documents from being discarded or destroyed prematurely
It is no wonder that 71 percent of organizations surveyed by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) are planning to implement stronger internal controls this year to mitigate risk.
How AP Automation Helps Organizations Take Control of Their Payments
Automation is one way for treasury and finance professionals to take control of their operations.
Electronic payments solutions create well-defined, consistent processes with clear and systematic assignment of duties and chain of custody. Enforcing consistent business practices reduces process variance and associated risk. Automation also manages document retention policies, legal holds and disposition workflows. The controls and configurable workflows provided by automated supplier payments solutions enables organizations to adhere to legal and internal document retention policies by eliminating the risk of deleting or altering an invoice before deadlines set by regulators.
Once more, electronic payments solutions provide a complete audit trail for all activities that occur during the payment approval life cycle. Detailed tracking of supplier payments processes also helps eliminate the back-dating of invoices, unauthorized payments, and fake payment authorizations.
Automation also enables organizations to easily segregate duties, such as payment approval and payment initiation, and restrict access to functions such as the access to banking information.
And users of automated solutions can provide auditors with instant access to archived images and data, eliminating the need for accounts payable staff to gather and photocopy documents.
Paying suppliers electronically also reduces the chances that payments will be intercepted by crooks.
Let ACOM Solutions show you how to end the siege from compliance, security and cost pressures.