What Mekorma Learned at the APP2P Conference, Chapter 2

By Karen Wainwright

December 12, 2018


As a “Part Two” of our findings from the APP2P Conference in Las Vegas, we have some more exciting details to report. We found that Accounts Payable professionals need and want to contribute more to their organizations than just processing invoices and mailing checks.

We assumed that the interest in automation and better technologies would be front and center, but we underestimated the drive and passion and how determined the attendees were to bring better processes into their organizations. This was no sleepy event by any stretch of the mind.

Automation of the entire P2P process was a very hot topic

Some of the top trends and payment solutions mentioned in a variety of sessions were:

  • Supply chain financing (early payments for discounts)

  • AP should have the ability to process multiple payment types

  • Cloud-based/ mobile processing options – especially for approvals

  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA)/ Artificial Intelligence (AI)/ Machine learning technology

Learning about the state of electronic invoicing in the United States was enlightening. The US is far behind Europe and Latin America in terms of electronic invoicing, and adoption of epayments in general. Part of the problem is that there are no standards or consistent definitions in place. The Business Payments Coalition, a volunteer group of organizations and individuals working together to promote greater adoption of electronic B2B payments, is trying to shift that with its 3-year “Interoperability Plan.” Learn more here: https://fedpaymentsimprovement.org/payments-efficiency/business-payments-coalition/

Change Management is critical for any AP department

As many new technologies and payment solutions are adopted and implemented, AP departments are being forced to change their thinking and expand their skillsets. AP managers must become very savvy at managing change, and it’s no small task. One excellent presentation outlined necessary steps and skills needed to create effective change within an organization. The attendees appreciated roadmaps and guides to help them achieve top performance.

There were several presentations focused on the future of AP and how to navigate the road ahead. Some of the top concerns included:

  • Staffing and hiring choices

  • How to gain executive support for AP transformation

  • How to assess your current processes and determine what’s needed

  • The need for benchmarking against peers

  • Driving vendor adoption of electronic payments—challenges and strategies

The sessions provided a great deal of guidance and resources to help alleviate these concerns. What wasn’t mentioned in them, the attendees could find answers from many of the exhibitors who offer technology solutions and consulting services. We found that the vendors were very generous with assistance when visitors came to their booths.

From every level of AP, we found that there is a great deal of thought leadership, and it’s not just confined to the C-suite. Every attendee we spoke with is on a constant quest for improvement in best practices, educating themselves and engaging better with their management and direct reports. These attendees had a firm grip on AP principles, technology and best of all, networking with their peers to achieve that top performer status.

We can’t wait to attend our next APP2P Conference in the Spring of 2019!