AP Invoice Automation

Automated accounts payable processing is extremely beneficial for businesses and their accounting departments. From improved cash flow to reduced labor costs, AP invoice automation helps companies thrive. Even better, AP process automation isn’t rocket science — these days, the technology is well-established, and many organizations have implemented the systems and practices needed to achieve a fast return on investment from AP automation.

If you're interested in pursuing invoice and AP automation for your own business, you're likely wondering about the process of switching. Here is a list of five questions and issues to consider early in the process, which are also good to revisit repeatedly as you continuously explore the right options and solutions for your firm.

1. How are your AP operations structured (centralized or distributed)?

By now, a majority of organizations have consolidated their AP organization to create centralized AP operations, where the AP operations for all locations take place. Industry research confirms that 90 percent of businesses today already maintain a centralized AP department — 30 percent of these are organized in a shared-services environment. By working from a single location, these organizations can ensure consistent workflows and operations, as well as minimal redundancy. If a company has a distributed model, however, they can still use AP automation, but they'll need to consider how to standardize their systems and policies to maintain consistency and visibility across the organization.

2. How long does it take to process an invoice?

This question is important to consider, as is the follow-up question, “how long do you think it SHOULD take?”

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Industry studies have shown that process and technology laggards generally require 14-24 days or more to process an invoice. The average is 8 to 13 days. Best in class companies that rely on automation are able to reduce that time down to 1-7 days, significantly improving cash flow for the organization.

3. How many invoices are processed per full-time employee (FTE)?

This assessment helps organizations gain valuable insight into the overall productivity of their accounts payable, and it also defines the company’s ability to scale its operations as the business grows. According to the Aberdeen Group, organizations with AP automation can process over four times as many invoices per FTE as those without automation, significantly improving productivity and cash flow for the organization.

4. What percentage of invoices are paper? What other channels do you rely on for invoice receipt?

Paper is still surprisingly prevalent in many firms, especially when it comes to invoice receipt. According to the Institute of Financial Operations, nearly 80 percent of companies reported that at least half of the invoices they receive are on paper. While these physical copies are not inherently problematic, the manual processes they require can be.

Physical invoices often lend themselves to manual invoice data entry processes, which can result in data entry mistakes, matching errors and duplicate or even disappearing invoices, all of which can drive up a business' costs, cause delays and create confusion. If you also consider that these mistakes can result in inaccurate accruals, disrupt decision-making processes and increase the amount of labor needed in your accounts payable department, handling paper invoices properly is an issue you must consider.

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If you don't already do so, implement an intelligent invoice data capture system at your business that can automatically pull data from digital and scanned invoices and upload the data to your system. Thanks to intelligent capture solutions that can extract transaction information from scanned paper invoices and digital files, companies can achieve high levels of efficiency, reliability and predictability, regardless of the media or channel by which they receive invoices — so long as they have a well-designed, automated process supported by the right technology, like Artsyl's InvoiceAction system, which offers:

  • Easy-to-implement invoice data capture, approval routing and ERP integration with no need for coding or customization
  • Header/footer and line item detail data capture for key invoice/AP information
  • Ensures data validity through rules-based and ERP/ECM/CRM data cross-referencing
  • Automates 2- or 3-way AP matching and eliminates duplicate invoice entries
  • Eliminates approval bottlenecks through automated alerts and notifications

5. How Many Invoices are PO-based?

According to the Institute of Financial Operations, most organizations report that half to three-quarters of their invoicing is PO-based, though this number varies by industry. This process is beneficial to nearly all businesses, allowing for more visibility within your company's workflows.

Due to the lack of visibility and spend control associated with non-PO invoices, many companies are finding ways to increase their percentage of PO invoices. Smart process application can automate the matching process for PO-based invoices, either directing them straight to payment or following business rules to appropriately route and manage exceptions.

How Artsyl Can Help

Artsyl focuses on delivering smart process technology products and solutions to businesses of all sizes and types, automating routine business processes so that you can achieve greater efficiency, visibility and auditability. By capturing, organizing and leveraging your data with automation, Artsyl's solutions allow you to cost-effectively automate your business processes and make your data work for you.

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By partnering with Artsyl, you can:

  • Quickly transform your existing AP documents into intelligence to drive strategy. Our docAlpha Digital Transformation Platform delivers more accurate data, more quickly at a much lower cost.
  • Ensure data quality through automatic validation. Eliminate duplicate documents and data entry errors by relying on docAlpha to automatically cross-check invoice data against ERP vendor records.
  • Grow your business while cutting costs by automating routine tasks like AP invoice approvals. By automated AP invoice sorting/filing, routing/approval and data entry, you can easily scale your operations as business grows, without worrying about hiring and training new staff.

Artsyl offers two primary products that can help you achieve these results: docAlpha and InvoiceAction.

The docAlpha Digital Transformation Platform and Smart Process Applications from Artsyl provides a foundation for smart process applications like InvoiceAction, which is focused specifically on AP invoice automation. With docAlpha, your organization can automate AP processes, then leverage that success to automate OTHER business processes.

Click here to learn more about docAlpha

InvoiceAction is a smart process application built on top of the docAlpha Digital Transformation Platform that allows AP teams to get up and running quickly and cost-effectively with a fully automated solution. As a result, customers can quickly implement a solution to sort through thousands of invoices/purchase orders/etc. and capture relevant transaction data with a minimal amount of effort and no custom coding or services required.

To learn more about InvoiceAction

Are you interested in learning more about how Artsyl's products and how can help you achieve more in your invoice and AP processes? Contact us today to learn more about our automated accounts payable systems and how you can get started!

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