What is resilience? Defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, resilience has become a top challenge and priority for businesses in 2020. But 2021 presents a new vision—bouncing forward. But resilience differs from survival, and the past year has presented both uncertainty and pain for leaders hoping to lead their business through challenging times. Knowing this, resilient businesses have not only weathered the storm, but they’ve also positioned themselves for success.

As discussed in a recent article from Bill.com, most midmarket companies found a way to survive the uncertainty of the early months of the COVID-19 crisis, but not without a significant amount of pain and effort. Navigating the unexpected became a full-time job on top of the full-time jobs that AP professionals already had.

Losing Focus: How Lockdowns Caused AP Pains

From addressing the challenges of remote work to facilitating the day-to-day work of their people, leaders spent a lot of the time in transition looking for new approaches to old tasks. This meant errors—and there was one area this popped up more frequently than others—accounts payable.

Sadly, many were left wondering if everything was moving correctly and how they could address the pains. Opportunities for errors and delays exist at every step of the traditional AP cycle:

  1. Collecting invoices to capture billing information: Whose job was it to go to the office and check the mail, and were they doing it often enough?
  2. Approving bills: Whose job was it to circulate bills to the people who need to approve them, and how were they getting bills to approvers and back to the finance team?
  3. Paying the bills: Who was getting signatures on checks and mailing them out?
  4. Entering bill, approval, and payment details in the company’s accounting system: Who confirmed it was accurate?
  5. Reconciling payments with bank statements: Who was doing this and what process did they use?

But internal issues were only part of the nightmare. External challenges showed up as well—notably in the mail service. COVID-19 has caused countless post office delays, and the postal system continues to face uncertainty today, making it nearly impossible to know that you’re receiving your invoices or your vendors are getting their checks on time. 

From Muddling to Making Use of AP

Some AP departments struggled to keep up, muddling through delays in the USPS and their business processes. Others were less worried. In fact, those who were able to automate their processes got to live peaceably, thanks to resilient systems and processes built to help them survive the unexpected.

Bill.com offers the resiliency to adapt to whatever the next normal may bring. Your time shouldn’t be focused on finding creative solutions to make AP happen. With Bill.com you can seamlessly process and pay invoices, regardless of what the future throws at you next.

How Did You Change? Share Your Experience with the Controllers Council

Getting from recovery to resilience will require a keen understanding of what works. While the right software can help you understand your AP processes and work to improve them—and we just so happen to work with one of the best, Bill.com—often, a place to discuss opportunities and best practices works nearly as well.

We launched the Controllers Council as a community and forum for controllers across the US to discuss and benchmark against similar companies. With just a small annual investment, you can join the discussion and get a lot more benefits along the way. We invite you to watch our most recent webcast titled Achieving Finance Transformation, Five Real Steps to Success, and hope to see you on the discussion boards.

Ready to learn more? Click here to read all the membership benefits.

Additional AP Resources

Should AP Automation be on Your Investment Radar?

AP Automation Buyer’s Guide

Building a Scalable AP Process

Virtual Roundtable: Controlling Employee Expenses with a Small but Mighty TeamWebinar Tuesday, September 28

Join the Controllers Council as Ram Bartov, Corporate Controller of TripActions (formerly Corporate Controller at Snowflake), reveals how small but high-performing finance teams today are embracing automated expense management technology to gain a better line of sight, control, and real-time reporting. Ram will moderate a “virtual roundtable” of Controllers and CFOs to be announced.