Accounts Payable Appreciation Week

Anne Wheeler's Profile

 

Did you know that the week of October 8 – 12 of 2018 is Accounts Payable Appreciation Week?  What are you doing for your AP team to show your gratitude?

Back when I was managing a team of AP professionals, I would bring in muffins as a special treat for my team.  It may not sound like a big deal, but I added a personal touch.  I learned everyone’s favorite.  On the mornings I would bring in the muffins, I would go in early and place each person’s muffin on their desk.  This small added touch was what my team remembered.  Yes, it took some time and effort but the effect on the team’s morale was priceless.

Why show the company’s appreciation?  Well, generally, the work of Accounts Payable requires that every invoice from a vendor be touched at least once when processed into a company’s ERP or accounting system.  It takes a level of concentration to ensure data is entered correctly and that all company AP related business rules are applied.  As you can imagine, this is very tedious work. And no matter how careful the processors are, the work is prone to errors. 

Generally, Accounts Payable is seen as a stepping stone, an entry level job to get a foot in the door.  Is the level of turnover in your AP Operations higher than that of other departments?  Are those that stay in Accounts Payable the best people for the job?  Are they making every effort to advance themselves within AP?  Give them options to do just that so your operation can become world class. Enabling employees to succeed and then work up and out is not a bad thing, it's a great thing. It can feed talented and happy folks into other areas of the company, and it spreads your great reputation, making it easier to hire each next person.

If you have good people in your Accounts Payable department, show appreciation in ways that will elevate their level of dedication to the team and the company.  Work with them to improve their skills set which could also improve their value to the company.   Leverage their knowledge and experience with your company during times of growth, mergers and/or acquisitions.

  • Offer to pay for Accounts Payable courses, external training and/or certification programs.  Let your employees know you are willing to invest in their future as an individual and as your employee.  Besides, they may acquire knowledge that could help your organization to become more efficient and effective. 
  • A lot is going on in the Accounts Payable world.  Cover the cost of trade association memberships so they can keep on top of new programs and services.
  • Show you care about their morale and well-being by supplying your Accounts Payable operations with the right tools.
    • Multiple or bigger monitors can reduce cases of eye strain and related headaches.  Besides, time spent toggling between different screens is a waste.
    • Work with facilities to ensure there is enough lighting in the area.
    • Reduce wait time – invest in faster printers or software to auto-print attachments sent in emails.
    • Accounts Payable automation can eliminate monotonous, time sucking work while processing invoices more accurately and timely.
    • Look at alternate payment methods.
  • Bring in third party service providers or consultants to review your existing processes.  Even small changes can make a big difference.

Your Accounts Payable team is the last line of defense before funds are released.  Don’t let the team become complacent or think they are not appreciated for all that they do.  During Accounts Payable Appreciation week, show them they are important to the health of the business.  At the very least, hold a team gathering and buy those muffins!

To help your folks gain better A/P skills, check out Illumeo's voluminous A/P course catalog, or consider Illumeo's Accounts Payable Certification or their Accounts Payable Management Certification.

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Anne Wheeler is the owner of CS Process Flows, providing consulting and project management in Accounts Payable. After a 30+ year career in various accounting areas Anne founded CS Process Flows. Her experience includes AP operations, identifying inefficiencies, and implementing solutions in existing teams.