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The Digital Transformation of Fleet AP: Part One, Automation

Posted September 12, 2018


Digital Account Services in Fleet Management

Not many industries have experienced the impact of a digital transformation as much as the financial industry; specifically, accounting. It was not that long ago that accounting departments across the nation were one of the most significant functions of operations, and for good reason. Accounting is at the center of successful business. These departments and people make sure the company is paid out, paid in and profitable. While these same accounting departments still hold the responsibility, they are doing it with fewer human resources and relying on digital resources to manage the same tasks that keep the company efficient, balanced and profitable. Over the last decade, fleet management has turned to technology to help with the challenges that fleet AR and fleet AP demand. The Digital transformation has been vital to the success of today’s business, and companies are finding the solutions in software, embracing the change with vigor. After all, as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella once famously stated:

“Every business will be a software business.”

There are many advantages that these software solutions offer but it is important for companies and specifically fleet managers to understand how this technology can benefit their customers as well as their own business. Like much of the world today, business is more than a one-way conversation. Relationships are critical, and that starts with an engagement or two-way conversation where protocol and business systems can benefit everyone. Because fleet accounts payable can be one of the most inefficient and costly functions in operations, many fleet managers are sticking with what they know best in trucking and turning to the experts for fleet AP management. Companies like EFS have been pivotal in transforming fleet AP management. Steven Johansson has outlined the biggest benefits of AP automation for, and the advantages ring very true for fleet management.

1. Accuracy

By automating accounts payable, you know that the invoice you enter will be the same invoice others see and respond to. If there is an error in the initial invoice, the system can be set up to easily recognize inconsistencies or errors.

2. Efficiency

By automating your accounts payable process, you relieve workers from monotonous tasks and free them to use their skills in more productive ways. In most cases, invoice processing is primarily focused on reading and entering figures and checking for accuracy. With automation in place, accounts payable professionals can use their skills to maximum effect by shifting to a more analytics-focused role, looking for opportunities to improve cash flow and secure discounts from vendors, for example.

3. Oversight

Even though it might seem that automating accounts payable could make you less aware of the day-to-day operations, the opposite is true. By pulling only relevant data and presenting it only to relevant parties, automated accounts payable gives you more oversight possibilities. By putting everything online in a transparent process, you can collate data into usable reports or drill down into specific clients and specific workers.

4. Streamlined Processes

Even the best manual approval process hit snags where some supplier invoices or payments may fall through the cracks. Accounts payable automation lets you automate the approval and entire workflow process, including checking to make sure that billed amounts are correct and that all relevant parties are notified and approve the expense at appropriate intervals.

5. Record Keeping

By automating your accounts payable and using a transparent, digital process for this critical business function, you're also creating a digital trail that anyone can follow.

Transitioning from paper to digital AP might seem like an obvious solution, but the truth is there are still fleet AP professionals that hindered by a paper-based system. Even though the technology is available, c-level executives, owners and decision makers need to recognize and adopt automation in the function of AP as much as they do with technology in other aspect of business.

The Proof is in the Pudding

It only takes a single invoice to see how automation can improve business. In 2015, the average cost to process an invoice is $15.61 and takes 9.7 days to process. $15.61 and 9.7 days of processing power to complete one accounts payable invoice. Today, fleet AP automation can process an invoice in real time saving the company a remarkable amount of time and money throughout the entire process of the purchase and the payment. Companies like EFS handle it all from fleet AP, payroll, regulatory and compliance, cash advancements and expense management as well as vendor payments. EFS is a leader in the fleet industry and have become that for many reasons, not the least of which is their desire to modernize. EFS is continuously bringing new solutions to the market to help their customers innovate and to transform the business of digital payment. Their strong commitment to enhance payment systems enables fleet AP in ways never before imagined. Because EFS solutions make the accounts payable process simpler and more efficient, fleets can focus on growing other business functions.

The digital transformation taking place in the trucking industry is broad but if accounting is considered the language of business, the conversation should start there.






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