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Good for AP, Good for Vendors

Enlightened self-interest says looking out for others is a good way to look out for us.

Fundamentally a business is created to meet someone else’s needs in order to meet its stakeholders’ own, and is successful when it does so.

However, occasionally we get lucky. Something we must do to look out for ourselves also brings direct benefit to our customers.

In the realm of accounts payable, our “customers” are those we serve, including managers, purchasers, the tax department, and of course, vendors.

Vendor relations are an important aspect of vendor management, and accounts payable (AP) has a significant part to play. But a tension exists between AP’s competing demands, including its role in supporting good vendor relations.

Into the execution of AP’s multiple responsibilities come interruptions. Inquiries from vendors about their invoices and payment status take AP away from the very work of moving invoices forward to payment. And vendor inquiries often come via purchasing — creating a double interruption from the company standpoint.

On one hand, AP has a need and responsibility to reply to the vendors. But on the other, the calls or emails and the responses to them interrupt AP’s work of actually getting vendors paid, at significant cost.

So suppose AP can eliminate interruptions and at the same time benefit the vendors (all vendors, strategic and transactional)?

Suppose you can hit the proverbial two birds with one stone? This is what vendor self-service inquiry offers to AP. It empowers vendors to find out their invoice or payment status via an online portal as it relieves AP (and purchasing) of the inquiries that represent the bulk of vendor calls and emails.

While AP managers’ primary goal is to save time and money by eliminating “manual” handling of the majority of inquiries, a double benefit is gained: vendors are happier to get what they need when they want, without phone calls, messages, or waiting for email responses. So what is good for us is also good for them. And vendors like companies that make it easy to do business.

Our first motivation may be to save AP staff time and cost by removing the inquiries that can be handled through a self-service portal, and that’s a perfectly good thing. But it also satisfies our vendors (and purchasing) and contributes to good relations. Good for us. Good for them.

To learn how Financial Operations Networks’ vendor inquiry, onboarding, and compliance solutions can benefit your operations and your company, download additional research from the list on the right or click here to request more information or call (678) 335-5735.

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