Come in from the Dark: How Automation Ensures AP Visibility

Posted by Greg Bartels on Feb 5, 2020 11:10:14 AM
Greg Bartels

Tracking down important information in a manual or semi-automated payables environment is a lot like rummaging through the kitchen junk drawer to find a flashlight after the power goes out during a storm: both are frustrating, time-consuming, likely to end in disappointment and potentially scary. 

AP Automation Visibility

In a manual or semi-automated accounts payable environment:

  • Key information is not captured
  • Data is poorly organized
  • Information is not timely
  • Systems are not well-integrated
  • Decision-makers don’t have access to critical variables


It is no wonder that most companies cannot accurately forecast cash flows ...

… or tightly manage their corporate spending.

… or adequately mitigate their risks of fraud or compliance violations.

… or achieve best-in-class operational efficiency.

Accounts payable leaders want to come in from the dark.  Improving reporting and analytics is a top priority of accounts payable leaders surveyed for Ardent Partners’ State of ePayables report.

5 Ways Automation Provides Better AP Visibility

Digital technologies make it easier than ever for payables departments to lose the paper and emails while gaining the insights they need.  Solutions such as IPS Productivity Wrx℠ include a range of visibility-boosting capabilities:

  • Real-time invoice tracking and detailed audit trails
  • Visibility across business units through integration with any legacy system
  • Integrated budget information
  • Operator performance tracking
  • Anytime, anywhere access to archived invoices and data by authorized individuals
  • Self-service portals for suppliers with instant access to invoice and payment status


Automation brings key information into the light, no matter how stormy things get.

Below are five ways that automation ensures visibility for accounts payable departments:

  1. 1.  Better invoice visibility and tracking

  2. Automation enables departments to see the status of an invoice from start to finish. The technology also tracks every change made to an invoice and provides robust reporting on processed invoices.  And suppliers have instant self-service access to invoice and payment status via a portal.
  4. 2.  Greater staff accountability

  5. Accounts payable automation provides department managers with enhanced visibility into staff productivity. A history log tracks which employees performed each function, including invoice approval, the date and time they performed the function, and how fast it was completed.  There is no longer any question about who ‘touched’ an invoice.
  7. 3.  Enhanced operational performance

  8. Automated accounts payable solutions enable organizations to quickly identify processing bottlenecks, determine the root-cause of exceptions and better understand which types of invoices are processed straight-through. Automated accounts payable solutions also enable organizations to “keep an eye” on invoices that need to be paid quickly, such as those for utilities or strategic suppliers. 
  10. 4.  Improved budget monitoring

  11. More organizations measure cash flow against current and future expenses than any other metric. Automated payables solutions enable organizations to more easily manage their spending.  For instance, budget information can be integrated into an automated accounts payable solution, enabling organizations to monitor budget compliance on a day-to-day basis instead of having to wait until the end of the month.  With automation, you always know where you stand against the budget, and how much you can spend. 
  13. 5.  Flexibility to meet any reporting need

  14. The reporting from advanced accounts payable automation solutions can be quickly customized to deliver the unique information a specific organization requires. A manual processing environment provides extremely limited reporting flexibility.


No one wants to be left in the dark, particularly when a storm is raging.  With automated AP solutions such as IPS Productivity Wrx℠ accounts payable leaders can always see what’s going on.


Download our AP Transformation eGuide today!

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Tags: Accounts Payable, AP Automation, AP Transformation, Accounts Payable Visibility