Accounts Payable Hits the Quality Mark!

This article appears in our Q2 2022 issue of Finance Transformation Magazine. To download the issue, click here

Jamie Radford, CEO of the Accounts Payable Association (APA), explains why all Accounts Payable Functions should attain the APA Quality Mark and the benefits this will bring them.

Once considered a very transactional back-office function, Accounts Payable (AP) is now becoming a more strategic and valued part of all organisations. But why the sudden change? Well, quite simply, there has been no change, AP teams have been pushed into the limelight as a result of the changing nature of work through recent events.

All industry sectors recognise the difficulty in recruiting, training and retaining good quality individuals within the AP function, and this will only become more challenging as companies seek to meet the changing needs of employees:

· Alongside the shortage of experienced or qualified personnel, the need for flexible working, enhanced salary and benefits packages has led to a candidate driven market emerging

· Candidates are expecting more in terms of their training and development, as well as future career opportunities.

So how do you attract the best quality individuals and, more importantly, retain them to become stars for the future? After spending over 30 years working with AP/P2P organisations of all sizes, we have looked at all aspects of how to transform this area of your business. There are some non-negotiables for success: making sure your AP department is well structured, controlled and feels valued within your business is essential.

The journey towards developing a team that truly works towards Best Practice then comes down to how much you are prepared to invest in the people, processes and systems that are required to ensure you get the most from your AP function.

We have condensed our knowledge and understanding into the APAQ program, to help companies understand in a very clear way not only what “success” looks like at a team and individual level within AP, but also how to get there from where you may be now…and stay there.

APAQ – What is it?

The APA Quality Programme is the Industry’s leading accreditation for Best Practice from the Accounts Payable Association:

· It recognises your team’s commitment to quality, continuous improvement and best practice in Accounts Payable/P2P

· It helps you review and improve your AP processes, people development and strategic management.

Successful completion of the programme confirms all of these areas are fit for purpose and aspire to Best Practice. The tailored programme is suitable for AP functions of all organisations and sizes.

Once accredited, your organisation will become part of the “APA Best Practice Network,” a peer-to-peer network exclusively for those who have completed the program and are committed to supporting and helping their own businesses and each other to share, learn and develop around Best Practice for their organisations.

How Can my Organisation Achieve APAQ Accreditation?

To gain accreditation, you must successfully complete an online assessment using our purpose-built system, with our dedicated APAQ team to support the entire process.

We then identify areas where improvements can be achieved and support this journey with your team to make sure you are continuously moving towards Best Practice as an organisation.

As well as improving your AP function, and gaining public recognition, the programme can lead to improved staff acquisition and retention, and greater recognition of the value delivered by AP both within the business, but also within your supply chain.

The APAQ programme covers 6 key Pillars:

1. Your Organisation

2. Your People

3. Your AP Function

4. Business Resilience

5. Sustainability

6. Technology

Why Should my Organisation Explore APAQ?

There are many compelling business reasons for looking into the APAQ programme:

· To continuously review and improve AP performance to keep pace with changing business needs and ever more advanced process technologies

· To benchmark against peers in similar industries (ESG/Compliance etc)

· To reduce the risk of fraud and loss within the business

· To improve visibility and confidence for other

· To raise the profile of AP/P2P through greater internal recognition for your AP Team (Internal Stakeholders – Finance – Procurement – Operations)

· To build better working relationships with your suppliers

· To improve staff acquisition and retention

· To raise the profile of your business through recognition for AP team, Manager and Business

· To access industry-leading Best Practice networking and events as an APAQ Accredited organisation within the wider Accounts Payable Association community.

You Will Also be in Very Good Company Achieving APAQ Accreditation

Organisations such as Trust Ford, NHS Wales, Tarmac, Breedon Group and Halfords. Our very first APAQ Accredited Members, LKQ Euro Car Parts Ltd.

Director Philip Spence embarked on our APA Quality Programme in order to improve the AP function within the business and has successfully done so.

There will be plenty more to come from Phil as Chris Sanders FCICM sat down to catch up with him about the overall experience with the Programme, so keep an eye out for that!

To find out more about the APAQ programme please visit our website

About the author: Jamie Radford

Jamie is the Founder and CEO of the Accounts Payable Association, the largest UK AP/P2P association representing the interests of professionals working in the industry. The APA offers memberships, certification programmes and events plus acts as a support group where like-minded AP/P2P professionals can obtain information on new technologies, procedures, and trends whilst obtaining critical benchmarking statistics on other organisations.