Succeeding in today’s global economy requires businesses to make fast, informed decisions.
But paper-based and semi-automated accounts payable processes are putting most businesses at a disadvantage:
- Essential invoice information is not captured or accurate
- AP and invoice data is poorly organized
- AP information is not timely
- Finance systems are not well-integrated
- Decision-makers do not have access to key accounts payable variables
What AP automation software does
Automated accounts payable software centralizes invoices with all the related data and documents on one invoice processing platform, instantly delivering AP information whenever, and wherever, authorized users need it. As a result, AP departments have complete visibility into their operations, working capital, corporate spending and risks.
How businesses benefit from AP automation
1. Improved invoice processing productivity.Graphical dashboards in invoice processing software provide accounts payable managers with real-time visibility into the status of invoices and Key Performance Indicators such as invoice volume, operator productivity, approval cycle times and unresolved exceptions. Ready access to this information enables managers to monitor operational performance, proactively resolve bottlenecks, analyze trends, and uncover the root cause of production issues. For instance, accounts payable managers can use invoice processing software to see invoices that have languished on an approver’s desk. Data can be personalized by role and presented in the format desired by the user.
2. Better corporate agility.
- Pre-configured reports in AP automation solutions provide stakeholders with valuable information such as operational statistics, working capital performance and corporate spending. These AP reports can be used across the enterprise to analyze trends, identify potential issues and make proactive decisions. For instance, procurement can use invoice processing software to access reports detailing spending by supplier, category or business unit for any time period. Reports can be easily exported for broad distribution. Custom reports also can be created based on stakeholder requirements.
3. Enhanced working capital performance.
- The accrual reporting and other working capital insights provided by automated accounts payable solutions allow businesses to better manage and more accurately project cash flow. Aggregating invoices on a single platform eliminates the possibility of unanticipated invoices. Treasury can use invoice processing software to see invoices that are approaching the expiration of early payment discounts. CFOs can use AP automation software to see the percentage of invoices paid to terms. Procurement can identify budget variances. And the finance department can more easily compile the data it needs for the month-end accounting close and reporting process.
4. Less risk.
AP automation software creates transparent, consistent processes and imposes a clear and systematic segregation of duties. Access to the invoice processing software is controlled. Accounts payable managers can view a complete audit trail for every action taken on an invoice, including exceptions decisions. Automation eliminates the possibility of lost or misfiled invoices. Images and data are automatically retained in a secure repository based on business requirements and/or regulations. And a supplier’s invoices can be instantly retrieved for review by auditors.
5. Greater AP scalability.
Enhanced visibility into accounts payable operations maximizes the use of staff. Supervisors can use invoice processing software to view and manage electronic queues for accessing, prioritizing and distributing work. Supervisors also can instantly view an employee’s workload and productivity. Automated solutions also offer visibility and reduce exceptions. And best of breed accounts payable automation solutions can be integrated with legacy ERP applications for end-to-end processing and complete reporting.
Accounts payable automation provides the visibility and reporting that businesses need to effectively manage their cash flow and corporate spending, while enhancing efficiency, compliance and security.
It is no surprise that half of accounts payable professionals identify “increased visibility” as a factor justifying the cost of automation projects, according to the Institute of Financial Operations (IFO).
Want to achieve transparency in your accounts payable department?
Contact IPS today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with one our accounts payable automation experts.