Automation is all the rage in accounts payable. More accounts payable departments are deploying AP automation solutions and invoice processing software, with no letup in sight. Accounts payable automation is part of a bigger push to digitize and simplify business processes across the corporate enterprise.
IDC predicts that by the end of 2020, 30 percent of Global 2000 companies will have allocated capital budget equal to at least 10 percent of revenue to fuel their digital strategies. Across the corporate enterprise, 39 percent of global organizations have completed or are close to completing digital transformation projects, according to a survey of 750 global senior IT decision-makers from enterprises with more than 500 employees conducted by market research firm Vanson Bourne.
How to get payback on your AP automation project
But many accounts payable departments will never achieve the full benefits from AP automation solutions or invoice processing software.
That’s because many accounts payable departments aren’t leveraging their data to move faster, make better decisions and achieve best-in-class efficiencies. Acting on insights from the data captured by AP automation solutions and invoice processing software is critical to achieving optimum results from AP automation.
Machine-generated data is rapidly rising. Think of the huge growth of electronic invoice delivery channels: supplier portal, e-mail attachment, FTP file upload. But 56 percent of the organizations that Vanson Bourne surveyed acknowledge that it is humanly impossible to properly manage this data. An even higher percentage of large organizations – those with between 3,000 and 4,999 employees – strongly agree that managing higher volumes of machine-generated data is a problem.
Making matters worse, 46 percent of C-suite execs have inadequate visibility into how the software systems they deployed as part of their transformation efforts are performing for staff and customers.
Additionally, many organizations say they can’t access the day-to-day metrics they need.
These are the types of problems that digital transformation solutions were supposed to solve.
Best practices for automating accounts payable and invoice processing
Many accounts payable departments are taking the wrong approach to invoice processing automation.
They are deploying:
- Purchasing-centric solutions
- Optical character recognition (OCR) solutions
- Document management solutions
- Online portals
- Robotic process automation (RPA)
Moreover, many AP departments automate their accounts payable tasks piecemeal.
Automating invoice processing with the best accounts payable software ensures that AP departments achieve the full benefits from an invoice processing system and can better manage their data.
The best AP automation solution combines capabilities for:
- Self-service supplier portal
- Digital mailroom
- Intelligent data capture
- Dynamic workflows
- Exceptions resolution tools
- Business intelligence and invoice analytics
- Supplier management
With the best invoice processing software, accounts payable departments can be assured that their data will be captured completely and accurately, it will be readily available, it will be organized and integrated with downstream systems and processes, and it will be accessible to decision-makers.
And this is true regardless of whether invoices and other documents arrive as paper or electronically.
In short, the best invoice processing systems deliver on the promise of AP automation.
Despite the poor job that accounts payable departments are doing in leveraging their data, a stout 91 percent of global organizations are satisfied with their AP automation initiatives. Imagine how much more satisfied AP departments would be if they more proactively managed their data.
If invoice processing automation is on your accounts payable department’s agenda, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.