Any employee working in accounts payable will say that he or she spends a fair part of their day working with invoice processing. Accounts Payable News has reported that about 80 percent of the job involves working with invoices, but even though nearly all of these invoices are prepared electronically, most are processed manually from a paper record. Companies can save a lot of time and money if they look into accounts payable automation benefits.
The website gave some reasons why organizations should look into automating their accounts payable procedures, the first one being the improved visibility that comes with going from paper-based to an automated process. Typically, these invoices are sent to and prepared in a number of field offices before being entered into the enterprise resource planning system. This workflow provides no visibility in the front end and means a lot of time passes before payments take place, thereby costing a company money.
“To gain complete and clear visibility throughout the entire AP flow, organizations must minimize the paper and tightly integrate AP processes with their ERP systems,” Accounts Payable News said. “Automating by integrating document capture and workflow within an ERP system sets the foundation for complete and clear visibility.”
Additional benefits of automated accounts payable systems
Other ways bringing automation into accounts payable can be beneficial include:
- “Turbo-charge productivity,” or automating the receipt, keying and approval process, which should make the end-to-end process shorter by ramping up the amount of work employees can do quickly
- The quality of invoices will improve, as the number of human errors inherent with manual entry will be reduced
- Internal controls within the company will be stronger, which makes security better
- An automated solution is more cost effective than paper-based alternatives, likely increasing the business’ revenue and making the payment process much more efficient, allowing you to see accounts payable automation benefits much sooner.
Automation professional Michael Neubarth wrote in an article appearing on Business 2 Community that decision makers can present a clear case for implementing business process management in the accounts payable department, including the fact that it lowers costs, uses labor more efficiently, saves space and provides better access to documents.
“With the business case for automation so clear, the question for many companies is not if, but when to automate accounts payable,” he wrote. “In looking to implement a system, choosing the right integrator is key. A poorly designed or misaligned system will not perform adequately, and you want a system that is extensible and will support future enhancements.”