Financial Services
accounts payable

Accounts Payable 101: Streamlining Payments for Business Success

Navigating the intricate maze of accounts payable can seem daunting for many businesses. When managed efficiently, it ensures a smooth cash flow and solid relationships with vendors. However, missteps can lead to unnecessary expenses, strained vendor ties, and operational hiccups. 

The role accounts payable plays is crucial within a business’s financial structure. But, finding the right accounts payable software tailored to a business’s unique needs can be challenging.

Especially for SMEs across Australia and New Zealand, navigating the intricacies of payable workflows can be challenging. The blend of best practices and modern technology is key to achieving timely payments, maintaining accurate records, and ensuring compliance.

In this article, we’ll delve deep into the world of accounts payable, highlighting common challenges and offering practical solutions. We’ll cover the basics of the accounts payable workflow and how you can enhance your existing processes for business success. 

What is accounts payable? 

The term accounts payable refers to the money owed to suppliers or vendors for goods or services received but haven’t been paid for. When a company receives goods or services before making a payment, these outstanding amounts are recorded as accounts payable, appearing as a current liability on the company’s balance sheet.

Accounts Payable and Cash Flow 

Accounts payable plays a significant role in a company’s cash flow statement. This financial statement reflects how changes in the balance sheet and income affect cash and cash equivalents. 

When a business delays its payable or takes advantage of extended credit terms, it can retain cash for other operational needs, thereby impacting its net cash from operating activities.

What is the difference between accounts payable and accounts receivable?

Although accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) are two essential parts of a company’s financial accounting system, they represent opposite sides of financial transactions. Accounts payable is the money a business owes to its suppliers or vendors, while accounts receivable is money owed to a company by its customers. 

There are also differences in where they appear in financial statements. For example, AP appears on your balance sheet under current liabilities, but AR appears on the balance sheet as current assets. 

Accounts Payable vs. Trade Payables

The terms account payables and trade payables are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings and applications. Trade payables refer specifically to the amount owed to suppliers for raw materials or inventory that are yet to be paid.

For instance, a retailer’s debt to a wholesaler for received merchandise would be considered a trade payable, while the retailer’s debt to a utility company for store electricity would not.

In short, trade payables are strictly related to core business operations (i.e., inventory or goods for resale). In contrast, accounts payable is a broader term that includes all short-term obligations of a business.

Why are accounts payable important?

For both small and medium enterprises (SMEs), effective management of accounts payable is crucial to the health of your business. Besides simply paying your bills on time, it contributes to responsible cash flow management and positive vendor relationships. 

Good relationships with vendors can lead to potential discounts, better agreement terms, and ensure a steady supply of these goods and services. Overall, an effective AP process can greatly influence cash flow and a business’s overall stability.

What are the common challenges with managing accounts payable?

SMEs often encounter several challenges in their attempt to properly manage accounts payable. 

  • Cash flow issues and late payments: Cash flow issues and late payments can strain vendor relationships and impact a company’s credit standing.
  • Inaccurate records and duplicate invoices: Left unchecked, small errors in records and duplicate invoices can lead to discrepancies in how much your company owes and missed payments. 
  • Fraud and compliance risks: Fraudulent invoices and the lack of internal controls expose businesses to fraud and compliance risks.
  • Manual and time-consuming processes: Companies relying on manual, outdated systems can suffer from delays and errors in data entry. This may lead to your accounts payable department becoming less efficient, further slowing business growth. 

Visory: Your Accounts Payable Solution 

In the complex landscape of managing accounts payable, having a reliable partner becomes indispensable. Enter Visory—our innovative solution that provides online bookkeeping services tailored for accounts payable management.

Visory doesn’t believe that one size fits all. Our accounts payable process is custom to your business, making it a perfect fit every time. 

Catering predominantly to SMEs across both Australia and NZ, Visory is not just a service; it’s an experience for businesses aiming to achieve seamless financial operations.

Benefits of Letting Visory Handle Your Accounts Payable 

Here are a few of the ways your business will benefit from handing your financial reigns to Visory: 

  1. Automated and Streamlined Workflows: Say goodbye to the tedious manual inputting and tracking. Visory’s platform automates processes, ensuring that your payments, vendor invoices, and reconciliations move smoothly without any hiccups. 
  2. Accurate and Real-Time Data: With Visory, your business isn’t getting stale spreadsheet data. Instead, you’ll get accurate, actionable insights. Our system provides you with real-time updates, ensuring that you’re always making decisions based on the financial data. 
  3. Secure and Cloud-Based Platform: In an era where security breaches are increasingly common, Visory places a premium on security. Offline accounts payables process can make you vulnerable to payment fraud. By operating on a cloud-based platform, Visory offers airtight security features that always protect your financial data. 
  4. Cost-effective and Scalable Service: One of Visory’s standout features is its adaptability. Whether you’re a budding start-up or an established enterprise, our services scale according to your needs. This flexibility ensures your company pays only for what you use, making it a cost-effective solution for all businesses.

In the dynamic realm of SMEs, effectively managing accounts payable is not just about paying bills—it’s about fostering trust, optimising cash flow, and driving business success.

Visory emerges as the beacon of modern AP management, providing SMEs across Australia and NZ with a seamless, secure, and scalable solution to conquer AP challenges and thrive.

How to streamline your accounts payable management

As your business evolves, so will your financial responsibilities. Your accounts payable management is one area that requires a modern touch to keep your company running smoothly. Let’s dive into how Visory tailors this process, ensuring efficiency and precision for your business. 

Streamlining accounts payable with Visory

  1. Transition to automated workflows: One of the initial steps is to switch from manual, time-consuming processes to Visory’s automated workflows. This not only saves time but also reduces the risk of human errors.
  2. Electronic invoicing: Digital transformation is the key. Instead of sifting through stacks of paper invoices, you can receive and process electronic invoices. Visory’s platform is designed to handle e-invoicing seamlessly, ensuring quicker and more accurate vendor invoice processing.
  3. Real-Time data access: Stay updated with your financial data. Visory provides real-time data updates, enabling businesses to make informed decisions quickly, based on current liability and the total AP on the books.
  4. Cost tracking and optimization: With Visory’s tools, businesses can track payments, monitor cash flow, and forecast upcoming financial needs, ensuring that money is always available when bills come due.
  5. Expert support: Beyond just software, Visory provides access to accounts payable professionals who provide you guidance while refining your payable processes. This ensures that the workflow is efficient and optimized for your business’s specific needs.

Best practices for streamlining your accounts payable

Streamlining accounts payable is not just about improving efficiency; it’s about enhancing accuracy, security, and financial health. Working to improve your accounts payable process will also help your AP team fulfill their role more effectively. 

Here are some recommendations for streamlining your accounts payable:

1. Automate your accounts payable 

Automation reduces manual entry errors, speeds up processing times, and ensures that payments are made on time. This not only improves cash flow but can also lead to cost savings.

2. Switch to electronic invoicing 

Electronic invoices can be processed faster than paper ones. They are also environmentally friendly, reduce the chances of lost invoices, and can be stored easily for future reference.

Encourage your vendors to send invoices electronically. Make use of digital platforms that support electronic invoicing and can easily integrate with your accounting system.

3. Seek out early payment discounts 

Many vendors offer discounts for invoices paid before their due dates. These discounts can accumulate over time, leading to significant cost savings.

Negotiate terms with vendors and suppliers. Regularly review invoices for any early payment discount opportunities and set reminders to ensure these invoices are paid within the discount window.

4. Check for duplicate payments

Duplicate payments can arise from various reasons, including system errors or miscommunication. Regularly checking for duplicates ensures that you’re not overpaying.

To thoroughly check for these duplications, regularly review your accounts payable ledger. Implement software that can automatically flag potential duplicate entries, ensuring that payments aren’t made twice for the same invoice.

5. Regular reconciliation 

Reconciliation ensures that your accounts payable records match with your general ledger and bank statements. It’s an essential practice to identify discrepancies, errors, or potential fraudulent activities.

Set aside dedicated time each month for reconciliation activities. Use software that simplifies this process by highlighting mismatches or discrepancies for further review.

Why choose Visory for your accounts payable management

Here are a few reasons why Visory is the best choice for your business’ accounts payable management.

Efficiency and productivity

The modern business environment demands agility. Our advanced tools streamline the accounts payable process, eliminating cumbersome paperwork and manual tracking of vendor invoices. By automating these processes, your team can redirect its focus to strategic operations, driving growth and innovation.

Accuracy and reliability

Precision is paramount in financial management. An overlooked expense report or an inaccurate vendor invoice can disrupt the fiscal balance. 

At Visory, our robust systems, paired with a dedicated team, ensure that every transaction aligns with your financial records, upholding the integrity of your balance sheet.

Security and Compliance 

Visory’s platform is not just cloud-based but also fortified with the latest security protocols. This ensures that sensitive data remains confidential and protected from breaches. 

Adhering to regulatory standards, especially in regions like Australia and New Zealand, is paramount. Visory’s solutions are designed with these standards in mind, ensuring businesses remain compliant and avoid potential legal pitfalls.

Savings and profitability 

Visory goes beyond just processing invoices. By emphasising timely payments, businesses can leverage early payment discounts, bolstering their cash reserves. 

Moreover, a coherent accounts payable workflow leads to reduced overhead costs. With Visory, your payable team achieves optimal cash flow, ensuring the business remains buoyant and profitable.

Let Visory streamline your accounts for business success 

We’ve discussed the challenges that come with managing accounts payable—ranging from cash flow issues and potential fraud to the tediousness of manual processes. Amidst these challenges, the importance of streamlining your accounts payable process is evident. 

Leveraging a solution like Visory brings a plethora of benefits, including automated workflows, real-time data insights, robust security, and cost-effectiveness.

Don’t leave your accounts payable management to chance. Allow Visory’s expertise to transform your approach, enhancing efficiency, accuracy, and profitability. To learn more, take a product tour or chat with an expert to set your business on a path to sustainable success.