Top 5 traits of a successful accounts payable team

This article on the traits of successful accounts payable teams was originally published in September 2019. All relevant copy and statistics have been updated as of September 2021. 

What’s one thing that the best accounts payable departments all have in common? They work to create a streamlined and efficient process that produces exceptional results. 

After a period of intense disruption, many enterprises have been challenged to rethink how they tackle AP, supplier collaboration, and more. The old ways of doing business simply don’t work anymore, and companies would benefit from updating their processes to reflect the current environment better. 

One such step you should consider is reframing your AP department to become a more efficient business function. But, where do you start? Below are five core competencies that best-in-class AP departments follow.

  1. Changemakers dedicated to change management

Best-in-class accounts payable teams look at change holistically and strategically. Using this overview, they then build a roadmap for digital transformation. It all starts with research. 

Best-in-class AP departments take the time to study and understand which new technologies are most beneficial, both strategically and financially, for the long-term success of the accounts payable department structure and the company as a whole. These teams have embraced advanced and adaptive technology to better their business processes. 

Some examples of technologies they have implemented include cloud computing, AI, digitization, and full automation. These tools allow them to improve reporting and data analytics, automate, reduce costs, increase collaboration, and improve visibility into data. 

Bonus material: In business, change and disruption are certain to happen. That’s why your AP team needs to take the time to prepare and plan for the future. Get started with our report on what it takes to become a future-ready AP department.

  1. Innovators willing to take risks

Transforming your accounts payable department means taking a hard look at the way your department functions.

Best-in-class departments are willing to make wholesale changes to increase the performance of their teams massively. That promotes a culture that values experimentation for positive change. 

If we’ve learned anything from this past year and a half, it’s that companies who are willing and able to make quick adjustments can better navigate turbulent times. One thing that is inevitable in business is that disruption is bound to happen. But, how you handle and adapt to these challenges is what makes all the difference. Start prioritizing taking risks and experimenting with new tools and processes to foster that culture of adaptability in your team. 

  1. Leverage technology to increase company intelligence

Best-in-class departments realize the most transformative value of accounts payable automation is in the greater intelligence and collaborative abilities it provides to the rest of the company. Top teams can provide better and more actionable information to executives with a truly digital accounts payable function. This means teams can provide richer payment information to suppliers, finance, and procurement.

Bonus material: Want to create a more strategic AP department? Check out our all-inclusive guide for best practices and tips!

  1. Commitment to standardization

Best-in-class teams are more likely to standardize accounts payable processes across the company. It sounds basic, but a ton of departments still struggle to manage a standard format for invoices. 

There can be many reasons for this: your processes may be paper-based, your team may be used to old and cumbersome processes, or there may be bottlenecks that are clogging up your cycle. Regardless the results are the same — a lack of efficiency and unsatisfied AP departments and suppliers. That’s why best-in-class teams recognize the necessity of repeatable processes and use a digital platform to help organize the process. 

  1. Customer-centric mindset

Best-in-class accounts payable teams realize the importance of a positive departmental image. The best AP departments have adopted a mentality of collaborating and working positively with both suppliers and internal stakeholders. While that may not sound like traditional accounts payable job descriptions, it sets the groundwork for the team to be a strategic partner for procurement and finance teams.

Be best: best-in-class 

A successful accounts payable team knows how to take full advantage of the changes across the B2B landscape to transform how they operate. To be a successful, efficient pillar of your business, your AP department needs to embrace new technologies and tools that help them to adapt. 

The right AP software helps reduce the stress you feel when it comes to time-consuming and monotonous tasks. With a greater level of control and transparency over your data and AP processes, the best software for you helps you make quick and informed decisions.  Products like Tradeshift Pay™ work to make your AP process more intelligent, more efficient, and more strategic at every step. 

If you want to learn more about how you can transform your AP department, reach out to our team of experts today. We’re standing by, waiting to help you make shift happen in your organization!

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