Top 5 Factors to Assess Before Implementing Invoice Automation in Accounts Payable

Top 5 Factors to Assess Before Implementing Invoice Automation in Accounts Payable

Key Considerations for Implementing AP Automation Solutions

As businesses continuously seek ways to optimize their accounts payable (AP) processes, the adoption of AP automation solutions has become increasingly common. However, choosing the right automation software is a critical decision that requires careful consideration. While investing in IT infrastructure is essential, adequately preparing the AP department for technological changes is equally crucial. Unfortunately, many companies overlook the importance of developing a comprehensive strategy for accounts payable automation adoption, potentially hindering their long-term success. Beyond just operational convenience, it’s essential to ensure that the chosen automation solution aligns with the company’s long-term growth objectives and can adapt to evolving business needs over time.

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Adaptability is a big part of new software deployments, as it will determine if the software is capable of fitting into existing IT infrastructure, as well as capable of being moulded further to meet new business requirements and integrations with other applications. In the case of AP, apart from the jobs that can be automated, it is important to consider the application of the software in changing business scenarios. For example, when adding a new supplier to a company’s database, there must be flexibility to configure the software to accommodate new supplier documentation including the invoices that the supplier sends the company. Rather than create a new capture and process automation template for every new invoice document from a new supplier, the software must have the capability to accommodate different invoice formats without much coding.


Preparing for Invoice Automation: Ensuring Adaptability and Flexibility

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, adaptability is crucial for successful software deployments, particularly in the realm of accounts payable automation. As businesses grow and evolve, their automation needs may change, requiring software solutions that can seamlessly adapt to new requirements and integrate with existing systems. This adaptability extends beyond initial setup to ongoing operations, where the software must be capable of handling diverse document formats, evolving supplier relationships, and changing business scenarios. With this in mind, let’s explore five key considerations for deploying invoice automation that will ensure your solution meets both current and future needs.

1. Assess Your Current Invoice Processing Workflow Before Implementing New Software

Begin by analyzing the existing invoice processing workflow within your organization. Identify the typical steps involved, such as data entry, data validation, and approval routing. Determine which tasks are particularly time-consuming and prone to errors. For example, manual data entry tasks can lead to inefficiencies and inaccuracies, while approval routing delays can hinder timely payments. By charting out these steps in detail, you’ll gain insights into the specific pain points that need to be addressed through automation. This assessment will guide you in selecting an accounts payable automation solution that offers features tailored to your organization’s unique needs. Look for software that streamlines data entry processes, automates validation tasks, and facilitates seamless approval workflows, ultimately enhancing efficiency and accuracy in your AP operations.

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2. Ensure Compatibility with Diverse Document Formats

Evaluate whether the new invoice automation software is versatile enough to handle a wide range of document formats, particularly if your company interacts with numerous suppliers. While some invoice documents may adhere to standard formats, others may vary significantly in structure and layout. It’s crucial to choose an accounts payable automation solution that can seamlessly process diverse document types without the need for extensive manual configuration. Look for software equipped with advanced Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology and machine learning capabilities. These features enable the software to adapt and ‘learn’ new document formats on-the-fly, eliminating the need for manual intervention and costly capture definitions. By selecting a software solution embedded with intelligent automation, you can ensure efficient and accurate processing of invoices, regardless of their format, thereby enhancing productivity and reducing processing times in your AP department.

3. Assess Return on Investment (ROI) Potential

Before committing to an accounts payable automation solution, carefully evaluate its potential return on investment (ROI). Look beyond the initial cost and consider key performance metrics that indicate efficiency and accuracy. These metrics include the software’s ability to process invoices within a specified time frame, the percentage of data extraction errors, and the rate of first-time match accuracy. By analyzing these metrics, you can determine whether the solution aligns with your business requirements and AP workload. Additionally, for growing businesses, scalability and flexibility are essential factors to consider. Ensure that the software can easily adapt to changing needs and accommodate increased processing demands. Look for features such as scalable processing power, including options for page count expansion, full-page OCR, zonal OCR, line-item and header-footer extraction, and automatic GL coding. By selecting a solution that offers robust scalability and advanced features, you can maximize ROI and effectively manage your AP processes.

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4. Assess Integration Capabilities

Ensure that your new AP automation software seamlessly integrates with your existing IT infrastructure, including essential ERP systems such as NetSuite Cloud ERP or SAP Business One. By integrating your automation solution with these systems, you can create a cohesive and efficient document processing workflow. Look for software with robust integration capabilities, allowing for seamless data exchange and synchronization between your AP automation platform and ERP systems. With tight API-level integration, you can automate data validation against ERP records and eliminate the need for manual data entry, significantly reducing labor and processing costs. Additionally, seek features like automatic ERP transaction creation, which further streamlines document processing and enhances overall efficiency.

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5. Affordability and Durability: Evaluating Long-Term Viability in AP Automation Investments

Affordability and software durability are critical factors to consider when investing in accounts payable automation. Having a proficient IT team to manage software upgrades, maintenance, and integrations is essential for seamless operation. Cloud-based AP automation solutions, such as SaaS applications, offer promising alternatives to on-premise software. These cloud solutions significantly reduce the total cost of ownership and provide a flexible licensing model. For example, with cloud accounts payable automation software, you can adjust computing resources based on your budget and workload, ensuring cost-effectiveness and scalability.

Streamline Your AP Processes with AP Automation Software

Now that you’ve considered the key factors for implementing invoice automation, it’s time to explore a solution that ticks all the boxes. Artsyl’s InvoiceAction is an intelligent automation solution for accounts payable powered by AI and machine learning, designed to revolutionize your AP processes, including invoice processing, expenses, and order automation. With seamless integration with various ERP systems, InvoiceAction automates invoice processing with features like GL coding, 2, 3, and 4-way matching, vendor validation, customizable processing rules, and many other capabilities. Say goodbye to manual tasks and streamline payment approvals with InvoiceAction, which offers a great ROI and much more. Experience the efficiency and accuracy of automated invoice processing with InvoiceAction today. Book a demo.

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Key Terms in AP Automation Explained

What is Invoice Processing Workflow in Accounts Payable?

Invoice processing workflow in accounts payable refers to the systematic sequence of tasks and procedures involved in handling invoices received from vendors or suppliers. This workflow encompasses various steps, starting from the receipt of invoices to their final approval and payment. Typically, the invoice processing workflow in accounts payable includes the following stages:

  1. Invoice Receipt: Invoices are received from vendors via mail, email, or electronic submission and are logged into the accounts payable system.
  2. Invoice Review and Validation: Invoices are reviewed for accuracy, completeness, and compliance with company policies. This step may involve verifying the details on the invoice against purchase orders, contracts, and receipts.
  3. Coding: Invoices are assigned appropriate general ledger (GL) codes to allocate expenses to the correct cost centers or accounts.
  4. Approval Routing: Invoices are routed to designated approvers within the organization based on predefined approval hierarchies and thresholds.
  5. Approval and Rejection: Approvers review the invoices and either approve them for payment or reject them if there are discrepancies or issues that need to be resolved.
  6. Payment Processing: Approved invoices are scheduled for payment through the organization’s payment system. This may involve generating checks, initiating electronic fund transfers (EFT), or setting up automated payment runs.
  7. Recording and Reconciliation: Payment transactions are recorded in the accounting system, and invoice details are reconciled with bank statements and vendor accounts to ensure accuracy.
  8. Archiving and Documentation: Invoices, along with supporting documents and payment records, are securely stored for audit purposes and future reference.

The invoice processing workflow in accounts payable aims to streamline the invoicing process, minimize errors, ensure compliance with financial regulations, and facilitate timely payments to vendors while maintaining efficient cash flow management.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: How to Build an Automated Invoice Processing Workflow

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