ABCs of AP: Communication in the AP Workflow

This article by Pyrus CEO Max Nalsky details the origin story of Pyrus as a communication and workflow automation tool. This story underscores the critical need for streamlined communication in workflows. As this previous blog post suggests, filling that need is especially valuable for Accounts Payable in any company. For the conclusion of my ABCs of AP series, I’ll focus on why communication makes such a difference.

The Problem with Email Communication

The modern standard for communication simply is not good enough. As Nalsky notes in his post, busy professionals are often “drowning in business correspondence.” This HBR article details some of the many reasons why that happens. It turns out, email is inherently flawed as a communication system.

First of all, email messages lack organization or a formal process. The typical email inbox gets flooded by an assortment of unrelated messages throughout the day. It also constantly alerts its owner with distracting notifications. It takes time to sort through all the messages and deal with each one. Although strategies for organizing an email inbox exist, they take time to implement. In essence, email ends up creating more work for employees as they try to get the real work done.

The statistics support this assertion. This report from the McKinsey Global Institute found that about 28% of an average employee’s workday is consumed just by managing email. Moreover, because there is such a massive volume of unorganized information shared in email, almost 20% more of the average workday was spent searching for needed information that could not be easily accessed. That’s an unreasonable waste of almost half of an entire day.

Moreover, the constant pressure to check emails leads to constant attention switching, as this article describes. In my earlier blog about time management, I emphasized the need to eliminate the distraction of notifications to allow for focused, productive work. Research has proved that constantly switching attention between tasks drains productivity all around. Clearly, the workplace needs a better model for communication.

The Promise of Streamlined Communication and Workflow

That McKinsey report from earlier observed that an improvement in streamlined internal communication processes could boost productivity by 20-25%. That’s where Pyrus comes in. As CEO Max Nalsky writes in his post, Pyrus was designed to structure communication for teams. Coordinating task management, communication, and business processes all together impacts workplace success. These benefits come in especially handy for Accounts Payable.

In general, the Forbes Communications Council advises increased documentation of processes to lower costs for any business. The executives on the council suggest taking advantage of collaboration technology and automated workflow tools the entire team can access, like Pyrus, to streamline processes like AP. Breaking down a workflow ahead of time creates the opportunity to delegate tasks and create templates in advance. This will simplify the process in execution. The Pyrus Accounts Payable solution supports all of that. A successfully automated process coupled with streamlined, task-oriented communication moves work forward.

This solution works especially well for a small staff, as outlined by this Forbes article. When your AP team consists of relatively few employees, even one person’s absence matters. Planning a workflow in advance and maintaining constant communication within smaller teams allows you to work productively through coworkers’ vacations and absences. Forward thinking avoids delaying processes someone else could have already taken care of.

Specifically for Accounts Payable, the benefits to streamlining communication and automating workflow are massive. That’s why these are some of the top strategies recommended for AP workflow management. Relying on a tool like Pyrus cuts AP-specific costs by reducing errors, such as duplicate payments, and speeding up workflows. As this article points out, speeding up invoice processing and payment can both avoid late payment penalties and take advantage of early payment discounts. It’s win-win!

Troubleshooting Change Resistance

Of course, though this sounds like an obvious solution for leaders thinking big picture, overhauling communications and workflow processes can put strain on employees. They may feel pressured to learn new processes quickly without understanding the benefit. That’s why it’s key to implement some of these best practices for integrating new technology into existing workflows.

First of all, leaders should provide trainings for employees, as this article suggests. These training can help ease the transition and provide explanations for the value of new technology. Fortunately, Pyrus can offer those trainings for your company. On your side, be sure to encourage employees to test out new technology solutions and provide feedback about how the tech can best support their work. Keeping communication open about new tools for streamlining communication and managing workflows will ease the growing pains of the transition process.

No Time Like the Present

While all these advantages were real before, it’s never been more important to have effective communication and workflow solutions than in the modern, remote world. As this article from just last week suggests, the post-COVID-19 future is likely to rely upon a hybrid model. Many workers will stay remote. Some teams may include both workers in the office and workers at home. Keeping communication and collaboration between team members open is crucial.

Plus, in a remote world, the benefits of centralizing communication and streamlining workflows are multiplied. This article from Forbes emphasizes that a solution like Pyrus can lead to more frequent communication between remote employees, increased remote worker engagement, decreased errors and miscommunications, and increased accountability at home. 

So, what are you waiting for? Pyrus’s Accounts Payable solution is at your fingertips to centralize your team’s task-based communication, simplify your workflows, and send your productivity through the roof, no matter the barriers.