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The Importance of UX in Accounts Payable: Often Overlooked, Always Essential

Accounts Payable differs from other finance functions in that it not only concerns finance teams but requires the collaboration of both business and finance-side users across the entire organisation.

  • Rebeca Clark
  • March 28, 2024
  • 4 minutes

User experience is widely acknowledged as a key factor in deciding the success of a product, service or software. Nevertheless, accountancy and financial management software often remainsthe exception, dominated by complex and opaque user interfaces which require extensivetraining and practice to master. Even so, when a software is restricted to the finance or accounting department, this complexity is generally tolerated and arguably necessary to manage the intricacies of a business’ finances.
Accounts Payable differs from other finance functions in that it not only concerns finance teams but requires the collaboration of both business and finance-side users across the entire organisation.

The UX Issue in AP

The AP process is often managed using a company’s ERP system. While the complex and extensive functions of ERPs are a valuable asset for finance teams, they often present a steep learning curve for business-side users. This complexity can discourage timely completion of AP tasks, leading to unapproved spending and operational bottlenecks. In fact, according to a survey of The CFO Magazine’s audience, 51% of businesses report that purchase requests are often raised after a spend has already been committed, becoming nothing more than a formality, rather than a process that can control and manage spend. Delays in processing and approving an invoice can also significantly delay payments, having adverse effects on supplier relationships, operational agility, and sometimes even triggering late payment penalties.

The Power of Good UX

A positive user experience in AP systems can dramatically change this scenario. By simplifying the interface and workflow, employees across all departments can engage with AP tasks more effectively and efficiently. This improvement in user experience can lead to better protocol compliance, quicker approval processes, and ultimately, greater financial control. Just as late payments bring a range of issues, a streamlined procure-to-pay process can also hold direct financial benefits, such as early payment discounts and the ability to negotiate favourable terms with the supplier in the future.

Enhanced accessibility of the AP process can also produce long-term cultural change in an organisation. When every team member can easily and conveniently play their role in the AP process, it fosters a culture of collective financial responsibility, collaboration, and compliance, profoundly impacting a company’s financial health and visibility in the long term.

Kloo: A Case Study of User-Oriented AP

Kloo is an end-to-end accounts payable automation platform that seeks to remedy pain points in accounts payable with an accessible, effortless user experience.

Intuitive Interface: Kloo’s interface is a departure from complex ERPs. Designed with ease of navigation in mind, it encourages participation from all employees, fostering a more inclusive financial culture.
Email Integration: Kloo allows users to manage a range of AP tasks directly from their email inbox, without even having to log in to the Kloo platform. Users can raise and approve spend, upload invoices and get visibility of smart AI-generated financial insights, all without having to log in. This integration of AP into the daily workflow of business-side users significantly reduces the time needed to complete one of these actions, streamlining the process from procure-to-pay.
Simple User Permissions: In order to account for the complexity of the systems, ERPs often have elaborate and complicated tiers of user permissions. With Kloo, there are three, straightforward user categories, with permissions designed especially for the AP process, to ensure effective segregation of duties without the unnecessary complexity.

Key Takeaways

The world of financial software has often been marked by comple user interfaces, with Accounts Payable (AP) being no exception. While this complexity may be tolerated in the finance department, AP requires a different approach, involving both financial and business-side users.

Traditional AP processes, often managed within ERP systems, present steep learning curves, leading to delayed tasks, unapproved spending, and strained supplier relations. However, embracing user-friendly AP systems can turn the tide, streamlining workflows, enhancing compliance, and opening doors to early payment discounts.

Kloo, an end-to-end AP automation platform, exemplifies this user-centric approach. With its intuitive interface, seamless email integration, and straightforward user permissions, Kloo eliminates AP complications, making financial processes more accessible and efficient for all users.

See UX-first AP system in action with Kloo’s product tour.