Topics: Accounts Payable Optimisation, Finance and Accounting Outsourcing Services

5 Critical Steps that Can Be Managed by AP Outsourcing

Posted on June 08, 2024
Written By QX Global Group

5 Critical Steps that Can Be Managed by AP Outsourcing

Accounts payable outsourcing is imperative for businesses who want to maximise the potential of their accounts payable (AP) framework and make it more efficient. Yes, you read that right; outsourcing is no longer about an affordable way of managing certain aspects of AP to reduce
operational costs, but it should be seen as an approach that supports your business’ growth efforts. By streamlining your accounts payable process, outsourced accounts payable ensures that your vendors/suppliers and even lenders are paid on time, which, in the long run, results in stronger vendor/supplier/lender relationships.

An efficient AP process helps your business benefit from discounts and faster supplies that vendor extend to businesses that have a history of paying their dues on time and, in many cases, before time. This directly impacts your cash flows and contributes to a stronger financial performance. More importantly, there will be times when your business is not doing well, and at that point, you want lenders to give you more time to satisfy payment obligations. Thus, outsourcing accounts payable helps strengthen your business for the long run, wherein you can be assured of supplier support, even during challenging times, especially during an economic downturn or a Black Swan event.

Which are the AP Steps that Can Be Outsourced?

As a ground rule, you can immediately outsource tasks that will free up time for your internal team of accountants, who can then move to more strategic tasks that can leverage their skill sets to the fullest. Also, you might want to outsource those tasks for which you need to hire accountants with the necessary expertise and experience in these tasks. Hiring internally would increase overheads, while accounts payable outsourcing will not only help you benefit from labour and cost arbitrage but also by helping you harness the potential of highly qualified and skilled accountants.

Now, let’s take a look at the AP tasks that can be outsourced:

Invoice Collection

A typical business works with numerous vendors and suppliers and might have borrowed money from different lenders; the payments might be due monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, or annually. The outsourced team of accountants will keep track of all invoices and collect them from various sources, such as email, fax, or any other digital platform.

Invoice Processing

Once the invoice is collected, it goes through three-way checks. The outsourced accounts payable team checks whether the payment order matches the ‘receiving report’, which is a document that tallies whether the requested items from the vendor have been received. Both are then matched against the invoice received from the vendor. If there are no discrepancies, the invoice is sent further for approval and payment.

RELATED BLOG: Click here to learn how you can get the most out of accounts payable outsourcing services.

Supplier Ledger Record and Maintenance

Another important AP task that can be a part of accounts payable outsourcing is maintaining comprehensive supplier ledgers, which list all transactions related to every supplier your organisation does business with. This helps keep track of all POs generated against a supplier, receipt of goods, invoices received, and payments made against those invoices. This ensures you have complete visibility over your invoices and payments and whether they are being made on time. It will show both closed and open entries, wherein you will know which invoices have been closed, while some are still open because they remain unmatched with the PO or receiving reports. Outsourced accountants can work on the same accounts payable software you use internally or add efficiency to processes by integrating new technologies.

Discrepancy Resolution

Your accounting team doesn’t have to waste time communicating disputes to the vendor/lender and addressing the problems, which can require numerous follow-ups and document exchanges. Outsourcing accounts payable will ensure this important yet time-consuming task is managed proactively to speed up query resolution times so you can still make payments without delays.

Reporting

Accounts payable reporting is a mission-critical activity that offers key insights into the spectrum of AP processes. Key stakeholders get updated about paid and unpaid bills and can make informed decisions about better managing their cash flow, plugging bottlenecks, and accelerating payments. By leveraging these reports, they can also make the necessary improvements to their Procure-to-Pay process, which, over the long run, can improve their credit rating and help build stronger supplier relationships. This can result in favourable payment terms and better discounts. You can work with an accounts payable outsourcing firm with focused expertise in creating comprehensive reports. It must be understood that you must maximise the potential of outsourcing accounts payable to accrue maximum benefits. This can only happen if you can outsource as many AP steps as possible to free your team from repetitive tasks and scale the AP process to align with growing business needs.

Choosing the Right Outsourced Accounts Payable Firm Helps

Not all outsourcing firms are built equal; therefore, not every firm offers a complete range of accounts payable services. Therefore, it is important to identify the steps you want to outsource and then choose a firm that can satisfy your requirements. The important aspect you must not forget is that you should interview the external team members who will handle AP and check if they have the knowledge to do so.

Also, make sure they have the qualifications to manage other AP tasks that you might send their way in the future. Also, ensure they have practical experience working on the accounting software you use to manage AP tasks. This will ensure seamless integration with your internal AP processes.

QX is focused on delivering accuracy, reducing operational costs through process standardisation, and leveraging the best talent and technology to help you enhance working capital management and benefit from improved supplier relationships. Choose QX to build a future-proofed AP framework.

FAQs

Why do we outsource accounts payable?

Outsourcing accounts payable helps you quickly scale your internal team of accountants with an external team of highly qualified accountants quickly and cost-efficiently. The expertise they bring to the table will help you streamline accounts payable and accelerate vendor/lender payments, thus ensuring a stronger cash flow and better and sustainable financial performance over the long term.

How do I decide when to outsource?

If you are having difficulty scaling your team of accountants, experiencing high operational costs of the AP process, and suffering from inaccuracies, reporting delays, and late vendor payments, you need to start thinking about accounts payable outsourcing.

Originally published Jun 08, 2024 03:06:50, updated Jun 08 2024

Topics: Accounts Payable Optimisation, Finance and Accounting Outsourcing Services


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