Asking for extra money from budget holders can be like walking a slippery tightrope. Presenting your case clearly, knowledgeably and persuasively is vital but, when faced with competing demands for investment from other departments, you need to ensure that your approach to improvement isn’t inward-looking but makes clear that everyone stands to gain.
Explain How The Whole Company Will Benefit
When significant investment is made in a departmental budget, the benefits should be tangible for the entire business. Budget holders will inevitably want to know how entrusting the accounts payable department with more funds will produce cashable gains, such as improved efficiency savings or increased profitability. As the person responsible for accounts payable, you’ll need to have a clear-sighted understanding of how the business will benefit and be able to convey this convincingly.
A streamlined, highly efficient automated supplier statement reconciliation process is one example of how an entire business could benefit from departmental spending. Investing in software to automate manual accounts payable tasks, such as Statement Matching, could increase the productivity of your team, ensuring that more invoices are paid on time will improve relationships with suppliers, reduce supplier queries and ensure ledgers are accurate cash flow forecasting, enabling managers to plan spending more efficiently across the business. The benefits of automating the statement reconciliation process would filter through every department involved with purchasing, enabling the business to operate more cost-effectively, without disruption from supplier issues and improved financial management.
Create A Sense Of Urgency
Most departments in a business have a wish list but, if budget holders are led to believe that it’s simply built on unfounded optimism, the chances of receiving significant extra funding are slim. However, you can shorten the odds of receiving a budget increase for your accounts payable department by singling out one or two significant improvements you wish to make and emphasising the urgency with which budget holders need to act to promote positive change. A palpable sense of urgency always creates the impression that the status quo isn’t working effectively, so more investment is needed to facilitate improvements.
For example, if the accounts payable team is understaffed and overstretched and is expected to reconcile statements manually as well as process invoices and payments manually, delays and mistakes are more likely to occur. Moving to a fully automated system would help to address the key issues quickly, so improvements across the business would follow in the short-term. Presenting the case persuasively – that additional investment will facilitate rapid change which would lead to identifiable benefits for the company – could help to secure the finance you desire.
Use Evidence To Support Your Argument
‘Lies, damned lies, and statistics’ as the saying goes: in other words, even the weakest arguments can be bolstered by some irrefutable numbers. Facts are, by their nature, difficult to challenge, so integrating them into your request for extra finance can be a deal-maker. Be careful not to convey the idea that your department has been operating below standard – you might create more trouble for yourself than you expect; instead, focus on your department’s achievements to date and how these could be enhanced, for example by investing in software that improves existing accounts payable controls. Again, present your argument as a win-win for the entire business, not just your team.
Find Out More
If an automated accounts payable system is just what your business needs but you need to persuade the powers-that-be to fund your department to implement it, feel free to contact us today to arrange a free demonstration of Statement Matching!