We’d like to devote this blog to presenting some ideas and actions that AP and Shared Services can pro-actively put in place this year to improve operational and budget efficiencies. I welcome your thoughts on this subject, along with methods or action plans that you will take this year to improve your department’s organization and processes.

  1. Make sure to use the latest technology, and that you utilize all of the functionality to gain the maximum benefits from your investment.
  2. Continuously check to be sure your costs are as low or lower than the competition, which is likely outsourcing.
  3. Review how your department is taking discounts and timing payments to realize the greatest advantage of interest rates in relation to cash flow.
  4. Given the change in financial markets, protecting the institution’s financial rating is increasingly important. Don’t let late payments downgrade your company’s financial rating, which could then increase interest rates. Work within the term limits as suggested above, but make sure you stay current!
  5. Take advantage of every non-capital expenditure that can bring dollars back into the organization. One example of this would be recovery audit processes. If you are using a recovery service, whether it is primary or secondary, make sure that it is paying more than it is costing in terms of resources.
  6. Stay current on changes in the laws that could impact your processes, especially the 1099 reporting changes. Begin working now (if you haven’t already done so), to develop a realistic project plan that will let your company comply with the new regulations.

Here are a few additional thoughts on the looking at technology for AP & Shared Services.

When looking at bringing on new technology solutions, look for ways that it can give you fast, near real-time visibility into root-cause analysis. This means utilizing on-demand solutions that can continuously report on processes as opposed to manual, more project-based engagements. In recovery, this would mean that you have immediate visibility into issues surrounding credits. This gives you two distinct advantages; first you take the credit faster, and secondly, you have can take remedial actions to correct any problems related to the credits.

Another suggestion is whenever possible, leverage technology benefits across multiple areas. For example, when collecting TIN information, see if you can obtain up-dated supplier contact information, updated risk mitigation information, parent/sub reporting, etc. Look at ways the technology can add multiple levels of value throughout your organization.

I’ll continue next week with more discussion around the two 1099 reporting changes. In the meantime, here is a link to several webinars we presented last year that deal with preparing for the impact of these changes.