Here Come the AP Robots

Posted by Greg Bartels on Feb 20, 2019 2:36:20 PM
Greg Bartels

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) was one of the hottest topics at the Institute of Finance and Management’s (IOFM) recent Accounts Payable and Procure-to-Pay Conference in Las Vegas.

RPA empowers business users with software robots (bots) that automate business processes, such as invoice processing.  IPS is at the forefront of developing digital technologies such as RPA.  

Accounts payable is a prime target for digital technologies such as RPA.  Most organizations rely on manual or semi-automated accounts payable processes that cost too much, take too long, create too many errors, provide inadequate visibility and frustrate internal stakeholders and suppliers. 

The average accounts payable professional must perform a lot of repetitive, routine steps that are tedious and uninteresting (e.g. invoice validation, invoice data capture, invoice matching, posting to an ERP).  Less than one-quarter of accounts payable organizations are a highly automated, touchless environment, IOFM finds, resulting in lots of wasted time and money at most organizations.

This is where RPA comes in. 

AP Robot HandRPA transforms simple, repetitive tasks that can be replicated by instructing a software bot to copy keystrokes or to follow a defined set of rules.  Bots interact with systems and applications, just like humans.  And the technology is largely plug-and-play and does not require changes to existing IT systems, legacy applications or machines.  This makes RPA ideal for accounts payable, where tight integration with an ERP application is critical for eliminating process inefficiencies and data gaps.   

RPA transforms accounts payable processes such as: 

  • Collecting invoices from email attachments
  • Capturing, indexing and validating invoice data
  • Posting invoice information to an ERP

 

RPA performs simple, repetitive tasks more quickly, accurately and diligently than humans, freeing employees to focus on tasks that require human strengths such as reasoning, and supplier interaction.    

Having machines take on the burden of processing and analyzing the invoices that flow through accounts payable departments provides organizations of all sizes with compelling benefits:

  • Reduced operations costs
  • Improved staff productivity
  • Increased accuracy
  • Faster cycle times
  • More time for staff to focus on value-added activities

 

But none of these benefits of RPA are assured without the right approach to business process automation (no matter what your IT department tries to tell you!).  To achieve the full benefits of RPA and other digital technologies, businesses must combine the technology with know-how on how to reengineer processes such as invoice approval and posting.  That’s why businesses choose IPS as their partner for digital transformation.  IPS offers unmatched expertise and experience in business process automation, and a long history of innovation with digital technologies.   

If your business wants to offload tedious, repetitive tasks in 2019, IPS wants to speak with you.

Tags: Accounts Payable, Invoice Processing, Robotic Process Automation, Digital Technologies