Remote Working – The Emerging Threat To AP Efficiency



The disruption caused by sudden work-from-home requirements since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has been problematic for many AP departments, given the nature of their processes and


Two years on, and nearly a third of UK employees still work remotely at least once a week, which suggests the challenges and potential for disruption are still a threat to efficiency. In what ways does remote work affect AP performance and what can managers do to ensure their departments remain efficient when working from home?

Remote Work And AP: What Are The Issues?

The unexpected switch to remote work caught many AP departments using manual processes tied to specific office PCs, or a mix of manual and automated operations. As a result, organisations realised abruptly that the on-premises solutions they had been using couldn’t be adapted to new working models that involved key workers being away from the office and out of direct touch with their colleagues.

A Fragmented Process

In many cases, staff working from home simply don’t have access to the tools they need to do their job. Even if they have the right software installed on their laptops, up-to-date data may not be
accessible. In other situations, cloud-based access is possible but not straightforward due to security issues, or from tools and resources being spread over different locations. Even where a partial return to the office has taken place, the entire process remains fragmented, since usually there is at least one part of the process that is done remotely.

Longer Processing Times

As a result, many AP departments have seen their processing times grow longer, with the increased risk of missing payment deadlines. Late payments have a direct impact on a company’s bottom line due to the cost of late fees and penalties, and the inability to benefit from early payment discounts.

More Working Hours, But Also More Mistakes

Backlogs in AP processing mean that staff often must work longer hours to handle a growing amount of work, which brings overtime costs and the risk of burnout, as well as a higher risk of human error due to being overworked. In turn, errors and the subsequent need for corrections put additional pressure on AP staff, as it increases their workload and creates operational bottlenecks in a seemingly endless vicious circle. This creates a dangerous scenario marked by rising staff costs, lower productivity, and diminishing returns.

Strained Relationships With Vendors

Late payments, fragmented processes, and a frustrated or demotivated workforce don’t take long to become obvious to suppliers. Over time, this can translate into strained relationships and reputational damage.

What Are The Solutions?

In many of these scenarios, the root of the problem lies in not having tools that enable a better strategic alignment with your AP processing goals. Invoice automation helps AP departments
undertake a leap in efficiency, and so can fully managed invoice processing solutions contracted out to SAP automation specialists, such as Cogent Consulting.

With these strategic tools in place, you can build better supplier relationships, ensure payments are processed on time, give your AP team the tools to handle more volume without having to work more hours, and save on the costs of human error.

What Next?

As SAP automation specialists, at Cogent we’re ready to help AP departments switch to more efficient operations, maximise the returns you get from automated solutions, and successfully adapt
to the challenges associated with remote work. To find out more, please call [NUMBER] today, or [click here] to arrange a live demonstration of our invoice processing and AP automation solutions.

SAP Invoice Automation Guide - Cogent Consulting