"Have it your way." That motto from a popular fast-food chain acknowledged that everyone has different tastes.
Add cheese? No problem! Want extra pickles? Absolutely! No onions? As you wish!
What is true for preferences in burger toppings also is true for invoice processing.
Every accounts payable (AP) department is different.
But you would never know it from the one-size-fits-all AP automation solutions sold by many technology vendors. These solutions force AP departments into receiving all their invoices in the same format, using similar workflow approval processes, or making do with canned reports.
The best AP automation solutions provide the flexibility to support the way AP departments work.
1. Any invoice, any format.
Digital mailroom technology aggregates any paper or electronic invoice onto a single platform. No need to force suppliers to submit invoices in a particular way. No need to maintain multiple systems. No one-off processes. No information siloes.
2. All the invoice data you need.
- Intelligent data capture uses optical character recognition (OCR) and advanced technologies to automatically extract and validate any data that you need from an invoice. Only need the invoice header information? No problem. Want line-item detail? You are covered. Is the information spread across multiple invoice pages? No worries. Want to have a solution to capture your data, while you handle the workflow approval? Okay! No matter the invoice format, no matter where the data resides on the invoice, intelligent data capture can extract it and validate it, so your team does less keying, and downstream systems and processes have all the information they need to get things done.
3. Workflows for the way you work.
Every AP department has its own set of business rules, best practices, regulations, and auditor guidelines for approving supplier invoices. And things can change fast. Organizations acquire new businesses, expand domestically or overseas, and launch new products. You cannot afford to get locked into the rigid invoice approval workflows built into most AP solutions. And you should not have to pay a vendor to reprogram those workflows as your business needs change. The best AP automation solutions offer workflows that are as dynamic as your business. Digitally route invoices for approval based on business rules that you configure into the solution. Establish unique workflows for high-dollar invoices, invoices from a particular supplier, invoices for a specific business unit and more. Enable staff to approve invoices at any time, from any location, from any device, including a smartphone or tablet. Automatically escalate invoices that are approaching their due-date or the expiration of an early payment discount. Instantly see the status of invoices, no matter where staff work, and take fast action to avoid bottlenecks.
4. Any ERP.
- The ERP is the financial nerve center of your organization. It is the single source of truth for financial information. With so much riding on the ERP, it makes no sense to risk the delays and errors that come with rekeying information on approved invoices into an ERP. The best AP automation solutions seamlessly integrate with any ERP, allowing information on approved invoices to be effortlessly and accurately uploaded. This seamless integration also provides 360-degree visibility into supplier invoices and supplier relationships.
5. Complete visibility.
No one can anticipate the information they will need to make informed decisions. This is especially true in a volatile economy. That is why the canned reports that come with most AP automation solutions are of little value. Decision-makers must have the ability to access insights into cash, spending and operational performance, when, where and how they need it. The business intelligence tools built into the best AP automation solutions do just that. Graphical dashboards provide real-time visibility into metrics and KPIs. Drill-down capabilities help decision-makers uncover the source of trends and potential issues. Ad hoc reporting and seamless data exports allow decision-makers to easily slice and dice data.
Every AP department has different needs.
That is why it is critical for AP departments to find an automated solution that offers the flexibility and functionality they need to meet their current and potential needs.
The best AP automation solutions do just that!
Want to see a flexible AP solution in action?
Contact IPS to arrange a no-obligation online demonstration.