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How to Automate Your Company’s AP Process

In AP Automation, AP Capture, AP Workflow by audseo

Maximizing resources and increasing efficiency are top priorities in the modern business environment. One of the best ways to achieve this is through automation. You can realize significant cost and time savings while minimizing human error by automating your company’s time consuming, manual processes.

Take a cold hard look at your AP processes

Before making significant changes, you should take some time for deep introspection and an honest review of how you have managed accounts payable at your company.

Is it manually done? Are you still using paper invoices? Are the “electronic” invoices you receive simply PDF images that still require manual data entry?

Other signs that you need to automate:

  • Your accounting staff and executives spend too much of their time processing invoice approval
  • You are missing out on capturing early pay discounts
  • Inconsistent AP procedures (especially in more prominent companies)
  • A complex and unwieldy paper filing system

Switch to digital services

From books to bank statements, the world has moved from paper to digital – accounts payable should be no different. Gone are the days of operating in silos; the right automation partner will help your AP department work as a team for true process consistency and efficiency.

With technology doing much of the heavy lifting that accounting staff once did, electronically collecting and paying invoices helps businesses save money and resources. This means your team can concentrate on more important tasks.

Four things to automate for maximum efficiency

  1. Invoice receipt and recording

It sounds easy enough to receive and process invoices, but it can be a surprisingly complex job. Suppliers send invoices in multiple formats, such as fax, email, or standard “snail” mail. Sorting and routing all these invoices, especially in large businesses, can be a time-consuming activity. An invoice can easily be missed or contain errors when its data is entered manually.

Paper invoice delivery is eliminated with the automation of accounts payable. New invoices are automatically sorted and redirected, which saves time and guarantees accuracy.

  • Payment Approvals

Before being posted for payment, each invoice needs to go through multiple layers of approval. Several of your team members or outside agencies might have to approve it. This can be a tedious process, sometimes resulting in delays and late payment penalties. Even figuring out which invoices are currently under the approval process can be challenging.

Automating the approval of invoices streamlines the whole process. The invoice is redirected to the correct person for approval with only a few clicks, making your workflow much more efficient.

  • Invoice Matching

Any received invoice must be backed up by accounting records such as purchasing orders or receipts to ensure that each invoice paid is accurate. Intelligent automation software matches PO and non-PO invoices to their supporting documentation, flags exceptions for reconciliation, and matches recurring invoices to account numbers or contracts, significantly speeding up the AP workflow.

  • Inquiries for Vendor Payment

If one question is heard more than any other by the accounts payable departments, it is “When will I receive my payment?” Electronic vendor portals allow your suppliers to log in and check invoice and payment progress. This saves time for both your vendors and your accounts payable team. Your supplier can access the portal whenever it is convenient, and your staff won’t have to waste hours responding to payment inquiries.

Benefits of automated systems for accounts payable

In summary, the main advantages for automating the accounts payable function include:

  • Streamlined receipt and processing of invoices
  • Expedited approval process
  • Improved accuracy and efficiency
  • Process consistency
  • Ability for resource reallocation
  • Enable the opportunity to capture discounts

AP automation is becoming a norm for businesses worldwide, especially as many companies move towards digitizing their activities. Don’t let your company get left behind! We offer a complete, end-to-end Accounts Payable workflow paired with a centralized, digital mailroom and invoice processing services. Our automated solution allows you to refocus your resources to align with your company’s specific, vital work.