Automating AP Helps Your Entire Business—Not Just Accounting

by | May 8, 2020

If your accounting people, department managers, and CFO are bogged down in manual processes, it’s time to get rid your old accounts payable systems. Especially now when technology will allow such a vast improvement. Their time is valuable, and you should no longer be complacent to allow them to spend it on tasks that technology and automation can actually handle better than they can—in far less time! 

I’m sure your vendors would appreciate the upgrade, too. How often does your AP team field calls from them, wondering where their check is…or if you even received their invoice? Having to ask and wonder does not make for happy vendors, and unhappy vendors don’t always do the best possible work they could be doing for you. 

Benefits of Automated Invoice Capture 

Capturing data from paper or PDF invoices and entering it into your AP workflow is a very labor-intensive task that can be accelerated exponentially with cloud-based automation. Digital capture technology boosts accuracy rates to 99.5% by combining OCR with human review. Invoices are directly routed into an ERP through API integration with your AP solution. With this type of integration, you benefit from a bi-directional sync that transfers data back and forth, which enhances visibility into your processes. 

Why Centralized Approval Routing?

With centralized invoice approvals, invoices can be automatically routed to the right person for approval. This automation follows a set of pre-defined rules that, for example, could route an invoice according to the vendor’s nameor it could be set to trigger two tiers of approval for an invoice that is above a certain dollar amount. 

Automated AP can also build in segregation of duty controls. For example, an AP manager may oversee the data capture of an invoice and routing, but a second person might be slated to approve an invoice before it gets paid. 

Easy Single-Screen Invoice Approvals

Previously, invoice management often took place over email threads, but automation can bring all those invoices together, along with supporting information, into a single view for each department manager, which allows approvals to be made very quickly for large numbers of invoices with a single click or tap for each invoice or batch.

Take Advantage of Discounts and Rebates

Automation allows you to pay vendors with the payment method that is most advantageous to you…methods that allow you to take advantage of early payment discounts or perhaps cash-back rebates from using a certain credit card. All of these variables can be programmed into your AP automation rules and be carried out in the background without human intervention.

How Your Company Changes When You Automate AP

When you switch to automated AP, the act of paying vendors transforms from a strain on your people and resources into a competitive advantage. For example, if your vendors are happy, they will most likely do the best job they can for you…which will result in improved products and services for your customers. You’ll also gain the flexibility to maximize the cash your company has on hand by creating a longer average payable period. 

Automation also greatly simplifies audits because audit trails are preserved in a central repository, and records remain pristine and organized throughout the course of a year. Being able to quickly locate documentation means your company will be less disrupted by an audit, as fewer people will be asked to put their ordinary tasks on hold to go search for documentation. 

I hope I’ve adequately described some of the key benefits of AP automation—feel free to reach out if you have any questions.