What Mekorma Learned at the APP2P Conference, Chapter 1

 
By Karen Wainwright

December 12, 2018

                     

Earlier last month, our own Beth Mongold and Karen Wainwright went to Las Vegas for the APP2P Conference where a host of Accounts Payable and Procurement professionals gathered for three days to learn the latest innovations, trends and best practices in both departments.


There were over twenty sessions, a variety of workshops, a great exhibit hall and a wonderful keynote by Dave Kennedy, a noted expert on hacking and security. In this post, what happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas because we are excited to share the details of our attendance.


We’ll report our findings in two posts because there is a vast amount of information to share. Each one of these topics deserves to be explored in depth, which we will do during the coming months. Here are some brief highlights to consider from some of the sessions.

 

Building better relationships and working more effectively

Both AP and Procurement departments should schedule meetings together and communicate how each other operates, and shadow each other to ask questions on processes. Perhaps even going to lunch together will help build relationships. AP feels like they don’t get the respect they deserve, so that creates tension between departments. The experts say a siloed approach is unsustainable, it’s better to work on goals/initiatives/forecasts together.

 

Document all your policies and procedures in AP:

  • Avoid sticky notes, post documentation electronically, use it as a training guide and as a guide for rules of the game.

  • Give management options on changes, workflows, etc. vs. having them compose everything. Always express why a new policy or procedure is important, and why it needs to be done. Use plain language. Consider communicating via video since some folks learn better this way.


Avoid being a victim of fraud

This session was packed. It was hard to find a seat because from the AP Professional to the C-Suite, everyone is concerned with ensuring that the company or organization doesn’t run the risk of being defrauded.

  • It’s all about greed and it’s an addiction which defrauds the company. These employees make choices to defraud and they can’t control it. They always think they can stop it at any time but can’t.

  • Get a plan executed with ethics mandates, training, disciplinary measures, how to prevent reprisals and a hotline to report at a very minimum. Ethics are determined by company leadership. All reports should be taken seriously and investigated carefully, but not acted upon in haste.


Fraud accounts for 500m checks being forged annually and approximately 74% of companies report check fraud in one study. Electronic payments help abate this. Why do AP professionals avoid automation? They have old ERP systems, growth is happening too rapidly, they are too busy and/or have slow moving companies. For V-Card or Virtual Card users, rebates and having technology providers set up vendor payments are top priorities. AP departments need to show more value by not being a cost center any longer.

Read more about our findings in Chapter Two. You have lots to consider in the meantime.