Blog | September 19, 2018 | by Michelle St. Rose

Staffing Up for AP Automation? Don’t Look to Millennials as Your Only Resource

Long-term employees just need to tweak their mindset to understand their own value.

Back in August, I wrote a blog dealing with the impact of technology and automation on the long-term job prospects for accounts payable professionals. The surprising find was that the fear of job loss is largely unfounded. In fact, a 2018 study from the Financial Executives Research Foundation and staffing firm Robert Half found that companies were looking for automation to increase efficiency which would free up staff to perform more strategic, value-added tasks.

Bu, in order to perform those strategic tasks; in order to optimize the analytics and visibility that AP automated solutions provide, the staff needs to not only understand and work with the solutions; they also have to embrace the opportunities this technology offers. This is where companies and current AP professionals are missing the mark. As the last of the Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age and the first group of Gen-Xers is nearing their 60’s, companies are looking to Millennials to fill the growing gap and eventual void of AP professionals. Although it is true that this younger generation will be the major workforce in the next decade and no one can dispute that they have a comfortable relationship with technology; however, many companies may be overlooking the incredible value of their current AP staff.

History and experience are just as valuable as technological expertise.

The unfortunate fact is that many AP professionals are not really comfortable with the move to digitization and automated tools; many are not even aware of the advances because they find themselves stuck in the attitude of what has “always worked in the past” and the mundane behavior of data entry. Those that don’t prepare themselves for the transition to automation may indeed find themselves left by the wayside. Since many AP automation solutions are so user-friendly and easy to learn, AP professionals really just need to tweak their mindsets and adapt to change.

What long-term employees provide that new employees don’t (regardless of age) is a true understanding of the organization’s history, goals, policies, and supplier relationships. In reality, a lot of these current employees don’t even know how to recognize the importance of what they know. When employees realize that the visibility and analytics that automated tools provide actually help them “turbo power” that knowledge, they will come to realize their own true value to the organization.

It’s an HR mantra that it’s cheaper to retain an existing employee than it is to recruit and train a new one. It’s not just about the money; it’s also that knowledge and experience that takes a very long time to replace. Organizations shouldn’t simply assume that they need a younger generation in order to optimize AP automated tools. Instead, they should look to encourage their long-term employees to, as I said earlier; embrace the opportunities the new technology can offer – for them and for the company.

Discover how AP automation can empower your staff.