AP Control Panel: Monitoring the accounts payable process

One of the key factors for preventing fraud and noncompliance in handling your organization’s cash involves how well your accounts payable department can monitor payment activity. While this should be a given, considering that a big share of the money flowing out of your organization goes through AP’s hands, we wanted to see if, in fact, that level of transparency is generally available.

Hyland, in collaboration with the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM), surveyed more than 300 accounts payable professionals to see how well they can:

  • View a log of all activities associated with AP processes and who performed them
  • Detect process violations within AP and determine who committed them

The overall picture

This graph shows the aggregate responses from those we surveyed:

As a group, more than two out of three respondents could see an AP activity log and who performed which processes. However, their ability to react to process violations divided them into three almost evenly sized groups — fast, neutral, or slow.

The fact that more than six out of 10 of those surveyed couldn’t immediately detect AP process violations or identify those who had committed them is particularly worrisome when you consider the potential outcome is fraud or noncompliance with laws and regulations. Either of these can have a negative financial impact to an organization, eroding its bottom line.

Does automation help?

You’d assume that practitioners with more significant and sophisticated AP automation would be in a better position to monitor AP processes and violations of them, but is that the case?

Let’s take a look at the data split out by level of AP automation.

While all survey participants, regardless of their degree of automation, are on relatively even footing when it comes to seeing a detailed AP activity log, it’s apparent that greater automation does a markedly better job of flagging process violations and revealing who committed them.

You can make a solid case that a detailed log of general AP activities is useful and should be a given for any automation solution. Being able to jump on process violations as quickly as possible is absolutely essential to protecting your organization’s cash — from fraud, errors, and potentially costly compliance fines and penalties.

The takeaway

If you’re concerned about what you don’t know in terms of who’s following the process and who isn’t, look to your AP automation solution. It should go beyond simply paying invoices by providing you with a high level of business intelligence about your workflow as it relates to compliance and security.

Hyland and IOFM have partnered to create the AP Control Panel, a first-of-its-kind tool that lets you evaluate your AP department’s level of control over operations, cash flow, compliance, and security.

Are you ready to take control?

The Institute of Finance and Management

The Institute of Finance and Management

The Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM) was founded in 1982 and since then, its mission has been, and continues to be, to align the resources, events, certifications, and networking... read more about: The Institute of Finance and Management