AP Best Practices: Build Rock-Solid Supplier Relationships With AP Automation


Maintaining good relationships with suppliers is critical to an organization’s success — and it is increasingly falling on AP teams to do so. According to the 2023 Ardent Partners’ Accounts Payable Metrics That Matter report, supplier management is becoming an essential AP skill.

Today, suppliers are under pressure as their own operations face disruptions from inflation, labor shortages, supply chain repatriation, and geopolitical conflict. 

With your suppliers navigating intense uncertainty, it is more important than ever that AP teams help them facilitate painless transactions. AP automation can help.

Streamline Invoice Processing

AP teams’ core functions are to ensure timely invoice processing and payments, but almost half face challenges doing so. 47% of AP teams say that processing invoices takes too long, and 45% are burdened with too many invoice exceptions. 

With AP teams taking an average of 11 days to process an invoice, this can lead to strained relationships with suppliers waiting for their payments.

AP automation simplifies and accelerates invoice processing, ensuring timely payments and reducing the risk of errors or delays. By automatically capturing and validating data, AP automation eliminates manual work, minimizes errors, and improves accuracy. With AP automation, AP teams can promptly process invoices and speed up payment cycles. 

Boost Efficiency with Automatic PO Matching

With AP automation, AP teams can automate matching invoices to POs, ensuring accuracy and efficiency. If an invoice doesn’t match a PO, the best AP platforms notify the supplier immediately and provide a mechanism for resolution. This way, suppliers aren’t left wondering if an invoice will be paid on time, and AP teams don’t have to field endless payment inquiries. 

As a result, AP automation helps AP teams keep suppliers informed, and suppliers experience smoother transactions.

Pay Suppliers On Time, Every Time

Additionally, AP automation automates invoice approval and payment processes. By reducing manual intervention and streamlining invoice approval workflows, AP teams can ensure adherence to payment terms and avoid late payments. 

With reliable and timely payments, AP teams can strengthen relationships with suppliers, improve cash flow management, and even help their organizations secure more favorable credit terms.

Enhance Transparency with Suppliers

AP staff spend an average of 22.5% of their time handling supplier inquiries. But, there is a wide disparity between organizations that leverage AP automation and those that don’t: AP teams that utilize automation spend half as much time (15%) responding to suppliers than those that don’t (29%). 

AP automation offers suppliers real-time visibility into the status of their invoice and payment. Suppliers can access self-service portals to monitor the progress of their invoices, view payment history, and check scheduled payment dates. This transparency eases suppliers’ anxieties about their payments, and helps AP teams build trust with their suppliers.

Improve Communication and Dispute Resolution

AP automation facilitates proactive communication between AP teams and suppliers. Automated notifications can alert suppliers about invoice receipt, approval, and payment initiation. If there are any discrepancies or disputes, AP teams can use AP automation to quickly identify and resolve issues, minimizing delays and fostering prompt resolution with suppliers.

Provide Flexibility For Your Suppliers

Some suppliers may require specific types of electronic documents or payments. Some AP automation platforms can help suppliers reduce administrative burden by providing connectivity for electronic POs, POAs, and ASNs. Additionally, AP automation platforms can provide suppliers with different payment options, allowing AP teams to pay suppliers however they want.

Optimize Processes with Data Analytics

AP automation provides AP teams with valuable data analytics capabilities to objectively evaluate efficiency. With metrics such as invoice processing time, payment accuracy, and dispute resolution time, AP teams can identify areas for internal improvement. Further, AP teams can collaborate with suppliers to address recurring challenges and optimize processes for smoother transactions.

Drive Mutual Growth with AP Automation

AP automation offers AP teams a powerful tool to optimize AP processes and cultivate strong relationships with suppliers. By leveraging streamlined invoice processing, enhanced transparency, timely payments, supplier self-service portals, and more, AP teams can establish efficient, collaborative, and long-lasting partnerships with their suppliers. 

Implementing AP automation not only helps AP teams improve operational efficiency, but can also help them strengthen supplier relationships, enabling companies and their suppliers to thrive in a time of turbulence.

Transcepta’s AP Automation solution helps AP teams improve supplier relationships by eliminating manual processes, speeding up invoice approval, and providing visibility into every part of the AP process. To learn more or to schedule a demo, contact us.