Accounting Automation & Beyond

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Strengthening Supplier Relationships with AP Automation


Despite improvements over the past three years, the U.S. supply chain still faces challenges in 2023 

Amidst hiring and material shortages, companies vying for success in today’s market are devising strategies to combat rising costs and meet demands promptly.  

Unfortunately, the supply chain is extremely reactive to ongoing economic events, making it challenging to predict. But with 57% of businesses experiencing substantial revenue impacts due to the supply chain, adapting to this unpredictability becomes vital for business well-being.

That’s why it’s important to not only address ongoing challenges but also establish tactics to preserve agility in the face of uncertainty.  

A key to establishing resilience is strong supplier relationships. When supply chain issues threaten your bottom line and your ability to serve your customers, positive relationships with your suppliers can be a lifeline for a business in distress.  

Here are the top three ways that AP automation software can strengthen supplier relationships, allowing your business to remain agile and competitive in the face of supply chain issues.

1. On-Time and Accurate Payments

Arguably, the number one way to win over your suppliers is to ensure prompt and accurate invoice payments.  

Automation ensures that you can accomplish this consistently. By implementing a system that validates incoming invoices and handles payments directly to suppliers with minimal manual intervention, you eliminate process bottlenecks and communication delays that prevent your suppliers from getting paid on time.  

An industry-leading solution can help you attain a rate of up to 80% straight-through processing, meaning your AP team won’t need to touch an invoice unless there's an exception to resolve. By improving your touchless processing rate, invoices can flow seamlessly through your AP department, from capture to remittance, ensuring accuracy and timeliness in the process. 

Moreover, AP automation solutions offer opportunities to take advantage of early payment discounts and dynamic discounting programs.

Leading AP software provides a way to identify qualified suppliers and automatically compute the discount amount based on the payment remittance date. As a result, suppliers get paid faster and your accounts payable department can boost the savings accumulated on behalf of your business.

2. Enhanced Visibility

Increasing transparency into invoice payment statuses can be another effective way to manage supplier relationships. 

Best-in-class accounts payable automation includes cutting-edge features like a supplier portal that provides comprehensive insights into payment activities. This allows users to easily track the entire process, from invoice submission to payment. 

By offering real-time status updates, your business gains supplier trust by allowing them to monitor payment progress in real time. This self-service option also reduces the need to contact your accounting team for updates, offering improved convenience for your suppliers and allowing your AP department to reclaim more time. 

3. Better Communication

To further enhance transparency, focus on improving communication between your AP team and suppliers. 

Invoice disputes that take place via email threads often lead to miscommunications, while phone calls lack a documented record of discussions. This prolongs issue resolution and can frustrate suppliers, potentially impacting their willingness to support your business in times of need. 

However, an online supplier portal that enables virtual communication and collaboration can mitigate many of the delays that come with back-and-forth exchanges.  

By allowing suppliers and AP teams to leave comments directly on invoices and engage in real-time chats to resolve disputes, teams can address issues swiftly and efficiently, leading to more productive and efficient resolutions.  

What's more, the system keeps a record of annotations so that teams can revisit prior communications and comments. This can be helpful in dispelling any misunderstandings that emerge (for instance, if a vendor doesn't recall informing an accountant that they would close or credit an invoice). 

A supplier portal that offers these features streamlines communications and ensures smoother collaboration and better outcomes. 

Final Thoughts 

AP automation software offers businesses a powerful solution to effectively address and prepare for supply chain disruptions by fostering stronger relationships with suppliers. 

By ensuring on-time and accurate payments, providing enhanced visibility, and enabling better communication, businesses can heighten their collaboration with suppliers and foster relationships built on transparency and trust. As a result, both parties can work together to navigate uncertainties, protect profits, and deliver exceptional customer service. 

Embracing AP automation is not just process optimization but a strategic investment in long-term success.


A leader in Enterprise Automation software, DocuPhase delivers document management, workflow automation, and capture tools designed to help your enterprise stay organized and meet evolving technology and business needs.

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