Preparing Your Workplace for Top AP Talent

Recruiting qualified talent in today’s competitive marketplace can be a challenging, especially for accounts payable (AP) positions. Advances in technology have vastly changed the scope of work for AP professionals over the recent years; roles are evolving from archival bookkeepers into positions that require strong technical and analytical skills as well as the willingness to collaborate as a team.

So, how can companies increase their chances of recruiting qualified candidates? Perhaps surprisingly, finding the right employee starts with defining what your business has to offer. The relevancy, benefits, culture, and professional development opportunities within a company are critical components of attracting and retaining quality employees.

Ask yourself:

  • Does every department within your organization align with industry best practices?
  • Are your business culture and environment relevant to today’s evolving workplace?
  • Can you offer benefits that appeal to employees?
  • Can you help your employees stay on the cutting edge of their field?

The productivity of an AP department directly impacts an organization’s financial stability and reputation. This is why keeping your AP department running efficiently should be a priority for any business and will be a key factor for consideration in your recruitment process.

Here are a few tips companies can use to position themselves to recruit and retain top AP employees effectively:

Step 1: Automate!

By 2025, 75% of the global workforce is expected to comprise of millennials, the largest, most tech-savvy generation. To remain competitive within their industries and stay attractive to talent, companies of all sizes must create tech-efficient cultures. In the world of account payable, this means implementing AP automation as a best practice.

Consider this question: Would top talent prefer to rather work in an office shuffling paper and filing invoices, or using relevant data to optimize cash flow and support business growth strategies?

No one wants to work in a department or company with ineffective manual systems or constraints, especially when the technology to improve processes exists and is readily available. So, it’s surprising that a large number of AP departments are still handling their processes by hand.

AP automation empowers companies to create stronger, nimbler, and more efficient accounting processes. Teams can streamline approval workflows, cut invoice processing time, eliminate mistakes, ensure on-time payments, improve working capital management, and optimize performance, all while driving rapid ROI.

AP automation platforms will positively change the way your department functions and is perceived within your organization. Companies that make a shift to automation unlock the potential to turn their AP teams into digital, data-driven, strategic powerhouses. Accounting departments will be able to refine cash management, control spend, mitigate risk, and bring advanced capabilities to your business.

Teams that implement AP automation can expect the direct, positive benefits of time and money saved along with reduced busywork and a workplace culture that is transparent, collaborative, and forward-thinking. Not only will your business gain a happier accounts payable department, but you’ll also be able to offer these benefits to potential employees.

Step 2: Create a Collaborative, Flexible Culture

Creating a supportive work culture and building a business that provides meaningful and relevant work has become extremely important to today’s talent. Time and again, research shows that collaborative, flexible workplaces help improve performance and employee retention. With cloud-based AP automation software, teams can work with greater efficiency and transparency, from anywhere at any time.

When AP departments use manual processes, team members often operate in a siloed workflow and are unable to work remotely. AP automation platforms can solve both of these problems by consolidating the entire team’s workflow into a single, cloud-based system. This allows staff to jump between projects and tasks while keeping in constant communication and working towards common goals. Working from a single digital system, teams have full transparency into invoice and payment status, deliver accurate reports, complete error-free financial closes quickly, and use company data to deliver strategic insights to other organization leaders.

Not only does AP automation support collaboration on any particular payable, but cloud-based systems allow people to work in real-time from any location. Everyone has access to invoices and can simultaneously confirm or dispute charges, seek clarification, or explain discrepancies, all with just the click of a mouse or a tap on your phone from anywhere in the world.

Step 3: Growing and Supporting Your Team

The first, sometimes overlooked, place companies can source top candidates is within their own organization. Much too often, companies ask for candidates to be far more qualified than their current employees. Investing in new software while providing training and coaching is a sure way to hone current, and attract new, AP talent.

Not only is AP automation creating a hub that supports greater efficiency, strategic financial reporting, and optimization of working capital, these platforms are also opening up new and exciting opportunities for employee growth. Traditionally, AP professionals require organization, accounting regulation, and data entry skills along with solid attention to detail. Today, skills such as data interpretation, strategic analysis, and communication are becoming increasingly important. In order to source technologically knowledgeable, strategic, growth-oriented recruits, it’s imperative that companies develop these skillsets within their current staff first.

Once you’ve aligned your AP staff with modern skillsets, you can begin investing in new talent. This search will require finding candidates with less traditional AP skills. One of the key qualities to look for is the ability to learn. As the world rapidly changes and advances, finding people who are creative, innovative, and growth-minded will ensure businesses can remain adaptive and nimble.

Penning the Perfect Job Description

Creating the perfect accounts payable job description is a great first step in the right direction. This will help you outline your criteria list, clearly define the role and responsibilities, understand how this position fits into your current structure, and showcase the benefits of your company.

But keep in mind: even if you create a perfect AP job description, it will serve you best if you can already give what you seek. Creating a culture of efficiency, collaboration, and growth will help you obtain and retain the support you need, from quality people who will likely be with you for the long haul.

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