One of the appeals of Halloween is that it gives children (and adults!) an opportunity to transform themselves into someone or something else, even if it’s just for one night.

Like those costumed children, some accounts payable solutions are not what they seem.  Nothing sabotages a business case for automation faster than buying the wrong solution. 

To keep your real estate firm from getting “tricked,” follow these strategies for evaluating accounts payable solutions:

1. Create a short list of potential solutions providers based on vendor-neutral thought leaders such as the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM) and technology buyer’s guides.  

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2. Validate vendor claims through third-party references, preferably with other real estate firms whose processing requirements are like your own. Ask references about their experience during implementation, the ease of use of the system, the solutions provider’s level of support and compliance with service level agreements and their satisfaction with enhancements to the solution.  Steer clear of vendors that “sell and run.”  And don’t hesitate to ask references whether they are meeting their business case for their accounts payable automation initiatives.  

3. Dig into the vendor’s organization: understand the company’s history and the tenure of the executive team, review the company’s financial statements, gauge the company’s stability, learn the company’s recent growth trends and determine the number of customers the company has in your industry and its customer retention rate.  

4. Understand the vendor’s user support options, including hours of support and whether the service is inter-company or outsourced, and onshore or offshore.  

5. Get a clear picture of the vendor’s commitment to research and development.  Make sure to also ask the vendor how frequently software enhancements and bug fixes are released and the process that customers use to request software enhancements.  

6. Look for solutions providers that are certified by third-parties such as your enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform provider.  

Finding a solutions provider that can meet your long-term accounts payable needs is more than a treat.  It is essential to achieving your departmental and enterprise objectives.

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