Process mapping can help accounts payable departments develop a clear portrait of their workflows potentially demonstrating areas that can be more efficient and exposing areas where waste and errors such as duplicate payments can be eliminated.
"Mapping is analyzing a process and putting it down on paper in step-by-step form and in great detail," Pam Miller, director of accounts payable at BNHC/BMC West, told the Institute of Management & Administration.
Many AP departments don't have an exact idea of how their operations are executed, and many inherited processes may not be the best fit, added Miller. A process map can show where there are redundancies and reveal steps that do not add any value. Streamlining processes can not only help departments work faster, it can minimize the likelihood of errors.
Process mapping can be accomplished with very complex methods or simpler tools like pen and paper. It is often best to start mapping the sub-processes first in order to gain a better overall perspective. Miller suggests assigning two people to map out each sub-process.