What Is Accounts Payable Automation and Why Use It?
As businesses continue to transform their operations digitally, one department that benefits from such automation is finance. There are so many manual, tedious tasks that finance department employees perform – specifically in accounts payable – that can be automated to save time and money. This is where accounts payable (AP) automation software comes in.
Despite businesses’ dramatic progress toward digitizing manual work, accounts payable remains an area of operations belabored by human error. Many companies are still processing and routing paper invoices manually and requiring humans to enter information, follow up on invoices, track them, and then create reports on what happened. Accounts payable automation takes care of these challenges and more.
What Is Accounts Payable Automation?
AP automation is a technology that automates accounts payable processes, including the capturing of invoice data, managing the routing of an invoice, integrating with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, and reporting. It enables businesses that have to track and manage high volumes of invoices to do so with accuracy and ease.
The solution streamlines and removes manual tasks from an accounts payable staff to process invoices without human touchpoints. What was handled by people on a day-to-day basis – from manually scanning documents to providing reports on financial data – is done with invoice processing automation.
With AP automation, you:
- Eliminate 80-95 percent of data entry.
- Eliminate up to 90 percent of the time it takes to process an invoice.
- Enable employees to retrieve documents within seconds, saving time and ensuring better workflows and compliance.
- Capture and normalize data from sources including paper, email, fax, EDI, and XML.
Why Use Accounts Payable Automation?
Businesses integrate AP automation software with their ERP systems to introduce massive efficiencies into their operations and pave the way for better financial visibility and health.
Avoid hidden costs.
There are many costs associated with manual AP processes that go unnoticed and, therefore, untracked. Businesses lose money when:
- An invoice must be handled by multiple employees.
- Mistakes are made throughout workflows.
- Employees have to backtrack to fix errors.
- Processing times extend payment periods.
As those issues occur, the cost per invoice increases. AP automation handles these processes.
Save on other costs.
Beyond the expenses decision-makers may not see, the known expenses of managing vendors and invoices also realize more efficiency and savings with AP automation. The software can help a business optimize its vendor portfolio and leverage early payment discounts.
Achieve better efficiency.
With employees free of manually keying information in from paper or email – or relieved of performing data entry, manual routing, follow up, tracking, filing, faxing, and searching for invoices – they can work on strategic financial projects that grow the business. AP automation software enables your employees to get their days back – reducing or eliminating invoice misfiling or loss.
Improve record-keeping for better financial health.
AP automation streamlines your workflows for filing and storing invoices, so whenever you need to retrieve documents, they are instantly findable. Your staff will no longer have to waste time reconciling transactions. Instead, they will be able to focus on delivering reports and pictures of your business’s financial health so your decision-makers can have accurate information to make smart moves for the future.
The software ensures your invoices are accurately captured, tracked, and stored, so there is no confusion or wasted time when you need to demonstrate compliance. With intelligent data capture, automated AP captures information from invoices based on pre-set rules. Its automated workflows electronically route invoices based on pre-set rules, ensuring only the right eyes see the correct data. Then the software securely archives and maintains these images and data, so they are instantly retrievable come audit time.
Improve vendor relationships.
With an automated AP process, your business will always be on time with payments, and you’ll have immediate visibility into where invoices and payments are at all times. This will get you in better favor with suppliers as well as improve your brand reputation.
Integrate seamlessly with your ERP.
AP automation software integrates with your ERP system to transfer data between the two software. Your employees don’t have to toggle between the two platforms to complete tasks or find data – simplifying their day-to-day even further with an easy-to-use interface.
Consider AP automation today for your business to realize these transformative benefits and set your organization on the path to better financial health.