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The 5 Benefits of Automation & Why It’s Time To Change Manual AP Processes

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Automation has become a buzzword in finance departments and for good reason. With the right solution in place, it can be a serious game changer in Accounts Payable, reducing invoice processing costs in some cases by up to 90%.

And yet, many AP departments continue to be bogged down by manual, tedious and error-prone processes. They’re opening mail, hand keying-in data, manually reconciling invoices, sending emails for approvals, responding to vendor calls, and relying on spreadsheets for reporting.

This not only takes time (a lot of time) which leads to late payments, but it often results in mistakes like paying duplicate or fraudulent invoices. It also makes it impossible to know where an invoice is at any given time in the process.

According to the Aberdeen Group, manual invoicing often requires at least 15 steps before the final posting is done. With 63% of invoices still arriving on paper and the average person having an index error rate of 20% to 40%, it’s time for a change.

What’s Preventing Companies from Embracing AP Automation?

Some believe their current process is fine as is, or that they’ve already gone digital. And yet, they are printing out electronic invoices for manual processing. They’re using email as their primary method for invoice routing and approval. Or, they think that automation is simply processing payments in their Accounting or ERP system.

On the other end of the spectrum, many see automation as a threat to their staff. While Finance leaders are focused on improving efficiency, not all of them are interested in replacing their people. The reality is that automation augments Accounts Payable teams. As invoice volumes and workloads grow, the right automation solution scales up accordingly, freeing staff from non-value added tasks so they have more time to focus on analysis, combatting fraud and managing spend.

The Benefits of Automated Invoice Processing
  1. Eliminate Paper. No more opening, identifying and routing mail or printing out emails for manual processing. Instead, every invoice is captured electronically and processed in the same system—including invoices sent in via email, EDI, supplier portal, fax, and XML.

  2. Increase Data Accuracy. Hand keying-in data, which only leads to delays and re-work later, is replaced with automated data capture. Key invoice data is captured immediately and correctly every time, which leads to faster invoice turnarounds and accurate payments.

  3. Expedite Approvals. Invoices no longer languish on someone’s desk or email inbox for weeks. Instead, as soon as an invoice is received, it’s automatically matched and routed appropriately for approval, greatly reducing exceptions and delays that lead to late payments.

  4. Vendors Serve Themselves. Vendors can log into a portal and view payment status updates in real-time, eliminating back and forth emails and phone calls.

  5. Greater Visibility & Control. Everyone knows exactly what’s going on at every step in the process—where an invoice is at any given time, who is responsible for what tasks and actions, and at what time. It keeps everyone who is spending money in your organization accountable and provides the actionable intelligence needed to monitor and track process performance and cash flow.

Automation turns your office into a mistake-free, well-oiled machine. And according to APP2P Network, it pays for itself within 6-18 months (on average).

Our new solution, DocufreeAP, allows for every invoice to be automatically captured, matched, validated with 100% accuracy, approved and authorized for payment. It includes built-in reports and dashboards to track key AP metrics. It doesn’t replace your AP department. It empowers them to focus on more important things. And in turn, it makes your business more profitable and productive. We’d love to chat more about how this product can change the way you work.

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