Struggling with Outdated Technology: 4 Concerns for AP Departments

 05/16/2023 by Andy Birkey

The rapid evolution of financial technology has left many AP departments grappling with antiquated systems and processes that impede efficiency, accuracy, and visibility. In this blog post, we'll explore four issues surrounding outdated technology in AP departments and explore how businesses can navigate this predicament.

  1. Inefficiency and Errors
    Manual data entry in AP processes typically involves keying in invoice data, matching invoices to purchase orders, and manually inputting payment details. This labor-intensive process is not only time-consuming but also prone to human error. Simple mistakes such as mistaken numbers or misplaced decimal points can lead to significant discrepancies, resulting in incorrect payments, late payments, and strained vendor relationships.

  2. Limited Visibility
    Real-time financial insights allow AP departments to track every invoice from receipt to payment, enabling them to manage liabilities effectively, optimize payment timing, and take advantage of early payment discounts. Additionally, real-time visibility into AP data can help identify bottlenecks, streamline processes, and mitigate risks, including fraud.

    Unfortunately, outdated AP systems often lack the capacity to provide these valuable real-time insights. These systems typically rely on batch processing, where data is updated only at specific intervals, often leading to a lag in the availability of financial information. This delay can result in outdated reports, making it challenging for businesses to make timely, data-driven decisions.

  3. Lack of Integration
    Data silos occur when information is isolated in one system or department and is not accessible or shared with others. In the context of AP, this means invoice data, payment details, and vendor information could be locked away in the AP system, disconnected from the rest of the business's financial ecosystem. This can have serious consequences. It can lead to a lack of transparency, making it difficult for decision-makers to get a comprehensive view of the company's financial health. They can also hinder efficient operations, as AP staff may have to manually transfer data between systems or duplicate entries, leading to increased errors and wasted time.

  4. Security Risks
    Outdated AP systems often lack the latest security measures and updates that can safeguard against evolving threats. This lack of advanced security can expose sensitive financial data and personal information, making the organization a prime target for cybercriminals.

Furthermore, outdated systems may not support advanced authentication methods, leaving the system vulnerable to unauthorized access. Additionally, outdated AP systems are less likely to have robust auditing capabilities, making it harder to track suspicious activities or catch fraud attempts in their tracks. The repercussions of data breaches and fraud extend beyond immediate financial loss. A breach can lead to significant damage to a company's reputation, loss of customer trust, and even legal penalties if the company is found to have inadequate security measures in place.

Consider a Technology Upgrade

The journey to modernize an AP department's technology can seem daunting, but it's an essential step towards improved efficiency, accuracy, and strategic decision making. MetaViewer is here to help! Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Assess Your Needs: Before diving into a technology overhaul, take the time to understand your current processes, identify the challenges, and define your needs. Be sure to check out the MetaViewer blog for more tips on finding out what your needs are. 

  2. Invest in AP Automation: AP automation solutions can transform your AP processes, reducing manual data entry, streamlining workflows, and minimizing errors. They can also provide real-time visibility into your financial data, enhancing decision-making capabilities. MetaViewer is a solution that can assist with all of these needs!

  3. Ensure Integration: Choose solutions that integrate seamlessly with your existing business systems. This integration will break down data silos, improve data flow, and enhance overall operational efficiency. A MetaViewer representative can help you understand your integration needs. 

While the struggle with outdated technology is a common plight for many AP departments, overcoming this challenge is achievable with thoughtful planning, investment in the right technology, and a commitment to training and support.

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