4 Ways AP Automation Frees AP Staff from Manual Tasks

Posted by Rich Arminio on Dec 7, 2021 2:00:38 PM
Rich Arminio

If it feels like you never have enough time in the day, you are not alone.

AP professionals spend 84 percent of their workday bogged down with manual, repetitive tasks...

...such as keying invoice data, shuffling paper, fixing errors and mistakes, and chasing down information.AP Automation Frees AP Staff

That’s according to the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM).

For their part, AP managers spend more time each day on transaction processing than on staff training and the other managerial tasks that they were hired to perform, IOFM reports.

All these manual tasks leave little time for fulfilling, value-added activities that can help a business grow and succeed – things like analyzing data and collaborating with other stakeholders.

Growth-minded businesses need to find ways to free their staff for the things that matter.

That’s where AP automation and invoice processing solutions come in.

Cloud-based AP automation solutions eliminate the things that hold employees back in four ways:

 

1. Eliminates time-consuming manual tasks.  Automated invoice processing solutions deliver significant labor savings. The technology automatically collects, digitizes and codes invoices and captures header and line-item detail such as supplier name, supplier number, invoice number, invoice amount, invoice due-date, product quantity, unit price, and freight charges. The technology also eliminates the need to track down information or file paper invoices. Eliminating manual invoice processing tasks frees staff to focus on higher-value activities such as data analysis, supplier management and building supplier relationships.

2. Accelerates cycle times. 
Automating the processing of supplier invoices eliminates the friction caused by paper-based processes – such as keying invoice data, fixing errors and mistakes, and physically routing invoices for approval – while enabling businesses to automate payments to suppliers, from beginning to end. Digital workflows and real-time tracking of invoices keep processes on track. Invoices can be expedited based on pre-configured business rules. Approvers are alerted to invoices approaching their due date. Faster invoice approvals reduce the chances of late-payment penalties, missed early payment discounts or more calls and e-mails from suppliers about the status of things. Businesses can accelerate invoice approval cycle times without sacrificing data quality or risking compliance or fraud issues. And invoice approval processes can be easily scaled, based on demand.

3. Reduces errors. 
More than 16 percent of invoices result in an exception, studies show. Incorrect payments to suppliers chip away at a buyer’s profitability and strain valued supplier relationships. Automated invoice processing solutions ensure accuracy through the automated capture of header and line-item detail from invoices, which reduces the chances of keying errors. Some solutions even guarantee 99.5 percent accuracy of the data captured.

4. Enhances reporting. 
Automated AP processing solutions enable businesses to take control of their cash flow and corporate spending through real-time data visibility. Businesses can aggregate all invoice data onto a single platform, with little or no operator intervention. Authorized users can access the information extracted from invoices in real-time. And the information can be integrated with legacy systems for budgeting, forecasting and planning. Spending by supplier, category, business unit and more can be tracked month-over-month or year-over-year and by calendar year or fiscal year. Users can drill down into invoice data to uncover trends, identify the cause of issues, monitor operational performance, and compare spending to budgets. Businesses also can use real-time. The insights delivered by automated invoice processing solutions also can help businesses allocate expenses more accurately. What’s more, cloud-based archival eliminates the chance of lost or misfiled invoices. All this ensures that decision-makers always have access to accurate, up-to-date information.

Wondering how much time your AP staff wastes by manually processing invoices?

  • Map your current process for approving invoices (e.g., opening the mail, coding invoices, inputting invoice data, routing invoices for approval).
  • Estimate the number of times that staff must handle each supplier invoice.
  • Determine the average amount of time spent per invoice, including those with errors or discrepancies.
  • Then, calculate the late-payment penalties your business pays to suppliers.

Chances are that manually processing invoices is costing your business a lot in terms of labor, time and missed opportunities.

It doesn’t have to be this way!

Automated AP solutions streamline the capture, processing, and validation of paper and electronic invoices.

With the right invoice processing solution, your AP team will be freed from the drudgery of manual, repetitive tasks.



FAQ

What are the benefits of accounts payable automation?

Why should I use IPS to automate invoice processing?

 

Tags: AP Workflow, Invoice Processing, AP Automation, Accounts Payable Workflow, AP Automation Solutions, Accounts Payable Automation, AP Supplier Payments