Manual AP Processes: A Shining Example of Inefficiency for State and Local Government

It’s almost like you don’t have enough to worry about during the pandemic – like declining funding and work-from-home frustrations aren’t enough to keep you awake at night. No, let’s keep you up all night by shining a light on your invoice, expense report, and payments process, too, calling out the problems that manual systems are causing and how they just might bring your entire organization crumbling to the ground.

Okay, it’s not that bad. But it is serious. Non-automated processes tax your teams with unnecessary work, bog you down in errors and inconsistencies, and expose you to risks you simply can’t afford right now. Because right now, state and local governments are dealing with enough:

  • 68% of decision makers say unexpected expenses and new categories of spend are major challenges to working remotely.
  • 67% are taking on three or more additional responsibilities as a result of COVID, with documenting COVID costs as the most common new task.

If you’re facing these challenges armed only with spreadsheets, and you’re trying to handle invoices and expense reports “the way you always have,” you’re fighting a losing battle. Even if you have a semi-automated process, you’re still exposing your organization, yourself, and your team to unnecessary risks.

Let’s take a look.

Concur Invoice Self-Guided Demo

See first-hand how to make your invoice processing paperless with Concur Invoice

 

Fraud: Under the radar and in the headlines

Fiscal accountability and responsibility are more critical than they’ve ever been, especially when you’re spending emergency funding. Without an automated, integrated, intelligent process to make sure policies are followed, spending is controlled, and 100% of invoices and expense reports are audited, it’s difficult to identify fraud, let alone prevent it. And the last thing you want is a major fraud event – or the media coverage that goes with it.

 

How much are mistakes costing you?

The same weaknesses that allow for fraud also expose manual or semi-automated processes to human error. Even without malicious intent, people are going to make mistakes: Double payments, inaccurate data, and incorrect pricing not only wreak havoc on your finance teams, they can steadily chip away at your budget. Plus, without a fully automated system for managing invoices and expenses, you’re missing out on insights into what’s spent and what’s pending. So you’re left with guesswork when it comes to accruing budgets or adapting them as funding and priorities change.

 

No one likes a late payment

If an invoice gets lost or stuck in a stack of paperwork, how do you know where it is in the approval process? How do you know where the bottleneck might be, or who’s desk it’s buried on? You don’t, and these delays slow the process down while ramping up costs. In a work-from-home environment, invoices don’t just get stuck on someone’s desk – they could be lost in someone’s house. Without an automated process, there’s no way for you to identify or escalate late approvals to keep things moving. So you end up paying late fees, which start to feel quite a bit like a fine for outdated processes.

 

This doesn’t feel so good

In the era of social distancing and quarantines, any process that requires you to be in the office or physically hand someone a piece of paper is a process that poses a health and safety risk. So when CFOs cut checks in their homes and have someone come pick them up, they’re both at risk. And when AP has to come in to the office to gather paperwork or post checks, your entire organization is in jeopardy. Automated processes keep things moving, no matter where you’re working.

 

When vendors aren’t happy, no one’s happy

You wouldn’t get far without your vendors, and if you’re not paying them on time because your processes are outdated or outright stagnant, you’re not going to get anywhere. If they have to keep calling to ask about payment, they’re going to get frustrated, and you’re going to lose a valuable partner. But look on the bright side, you’ll gain a reputation for not paying your bills.

These risks are real, they have the potential to be devastating to your organization, and they are entirely avoidable. Fully automated invoice and expense processing is an investment you can put to work almost immediately. Which gives you time to worry about the other problems on your plate.

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