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The 7 Benefits of Accounts Payable Automation

The 7 Benefits of Accounts Payable Automation

The 7 Benefits of Accounts Payable Automation

Posted: 12/01/2023

Accounts payable (AP) is a critical business process that ensures financial stability and security.  Accounts payable departments are responsible for ensuring payments are accurate, approved and paid in a timely manner. 

Manual and and lengthy administration tasks cause errors, slowing work down and creating challenges for AP staff.  Accounts payable automation is designed to address these challenges, moving invoices quickly and efficiently through the business.

Frequent Problems In Accounts Payable

Organisations of varying size and across multiple industries come to us because of the problems they're having in accounts payable.  Inefficient processes, manual data entry and being held back by paper are amongst the top reasons businesses investigate better ways of doing things. 

Lost or duplicated invoices mean payments are missed altogether or paid twice, and lengthy approval processes ensures there is no chance of gaining early payment discounts.

Outdated software will often slow processes down, providing no visibility of where invoice payments are up to and offering no ability to integrate with finance or ERP software.

After the Covid-19 pandemic lots of businesses were forced to adjust their back office processes.  Many hastily put solutions in place that may no longer be fit for purpose, whereas others risked sending employees into the office to complete manual tasks. 

7 Benefits of Accounts Payable Automation

If your processes are still manual or just not working as efficiently as they should then automated invoice processing and accounts payable software provide a number of benefits. 

1. Save Time And Money

Employees will work from a single digital platform where all invoice data and related information is securely stored and easily accessed.  Paper invoices are scanned in while emailed invoices are stored directly into the software.

Time is no longer wasted looking through paper files, computer folders or email inboxes.  A simple look up in the system is all that's needed. 

Organisations can effectively manage growth without needing to hire additional staff and existing employees can concentrate on more valuable work.

2. Facilitate Remote or Hybrid Working

While remote and hybrid working is now more common than ever before, employees at organisations with manual AP processes have no choice but to work from the office full time. 

For many, and in particular those with young families, having the option to work from home is incredibility beneficial to family life.  School drop off and pick ups can be woven into the working day and child care costs reduced as a result of working from home.  

As a result, giving employees this option helps with the life / work balance we're all looking for, creating appreciative staff who feel valued and want to work hard.

3. Accurate Data Processing

All incoming invoice data needs to be captured and entered into a finance or ERP package such as Sage, SAP or Dynamics Nav.  When done manually either through copy and paste or re-keying information, errors inevitably happen.

With accounts payable automation, paper and PDF invoices are scanned by the software using Optical Character Recognition (OCR).  OCR is a form of text recognition that identifies written or typed characters within an image.

Once captured, this information is automatically pushed into finance or ERP software ensuring it remains the same.  This functionality coupled with machine learning such as Intelligent Indexing, recognises patterns within invoices and learns to capture them with higher accuracy after each scan. 

Key pieces of information such as supplier name, reference numbers and values are saved to the system and instantly searchable by anyone with authorised access.

4. Improved Supplier Relationships

Automated accounts payable software enables organisations to put processes in place where only approved suppliers can be used in the purchasing process.  Knowing this immediately on receipt of an invoice means no time is wasted checking and verifying the supplier. 

Supply chains are consolidated and suppliers can be paid quicker enabling companies to benefit from early repayment discounts.  Having a good relationship with suppliers can also provide advantages over competitors.

Poor relationships or a lack of trust means organisations may constantly be sourcing new suppliers, negotiating new deals and having to put new contracts in place.  This all takes time, it's a drain on resources and costs money. 

5. Greater Control And Better Insight

Digital accounts payable software provides real time information making it easy to identify where an invoice is up to in the process.  Management can quickly see if there are any delays and who to contact to find out why.

All accounts payable information is housed in one system making the data much easier to report on and analyse.  This is critical for making informed business decisions.

6. Customisable Workflows

A huge benefit of accounts payable automation are the customisable workflows.  Once invoice data is in the software it has to be assigned to the correct approver.

With manual processes this can mean taking paper invoices to a colleague only to find they're out of the office, or emailing a colleague to obtain and document approval with no certainty of when you'll hear back.  Neither of these offer any visibility to the wider business.

With AP automation, workflows can be built to ensure documents are routed directly to the approver based on price, cost centre or a person's role in the organisation, and they can be notified with a task in the system and/or an email.

Rules put in place are based on individual organisation processes and workflows have the ability to manage exceptions, out of office responses and escalations.  

7. Integration With Third Party Software

Any good automated accounts payable system should be able to seamlessly integrate with ERP, Finance, Office 365 systems or external databases. 

Systems that talk to each other act like one single solution, removing information silos and the need to log in and out of separate systems.  Yet more time is saved and processes are streamlined.

DocTech Conclusion

Accounts payable automation ensures business continuity by removing low value and tedious administration tasks in favour of innovative, digital software solutions. 

Finance teams should start by addressing what's causing the biggest headaches and where automation can be implemented to help. 

A 2021 Payables Insight report found that 80% of surveyed organisations expressed an interest in third party, cloud based accounts payable tools.  If your organisations is one of them then hesitate no longer and get in touch with us. 

Our sales team can provide a demo of the software followed with clear pricing based solely on your business requirements, document volume and licence numbers. 

The years of experience and expertise amongst the DocTech team uniquely positions us to provide the best solution possible, delivered on time and within budget. 

Move ahead of your competition with accounts payable automation software.  Free staff of boring and error prone administration tasks and put their time and skill set to better use. 

Schedule a call on 0161 647 7040 or send us an email with the challenges you're facing.  We'd love to help.