These pandemic months have demonstrated the importance of cloud computing and cloud applications for business mobility. For organizations globally, the need to demonstrate resilience and reliability in the midst of social resticitions was paramount to their continuity in the long run. Those small and mid-sized businesses that made the radical change to transition basic administrative functions to the cloud benefitted the most during the lockdown phase. A lot of the continuation of business processes and operations, especially administrative functions can be accomplished remotely with cloud technology.
“...while departmental functions handled by a Cloud ERP system like customer relationship management, finance & accounting, supply chain, HR payroll, etc., are automated, centralized, and streamlined, typical document-dependent functions like accounts payable, which precede these functions are not!”
You can see a few immediate positive changes brought about by cloud technology in things like
Adapting to changing business needs and global disruptions is difficult even when you have a great management in place. Fierce competition in the marketplace and limited resources mean businesses need to act quickly to reach the customer first. Cloud technology has got a lot to do with how efficiently and accurately businesses respond to change.
Several small-and-mid-market companies today have a cloud ERP solution in place. Investing in a high performance ERP system like Acumatica and Netsuite Cloud ERPs, Microsoft Dynamics 365, etc. will help you consolidate and manage all your financial and business operations in one place.
The implementation of any function or business process in a Cloud ERP system begins with data. Whereas departmental functions handled by an ERP system like customer relationship management, finance & accounting, supply chain, HR payroll, etc., are automated, centralized, and streamlined, typical document-dependent functions like accounts payable, which precede these functions are not!
AP invoice processing has been mostly manually-driven, complex, and time-consuming. The latest ERP systems in the market have the technology to process accounts payable tasks, but the fundamental process of retrieving transaction data from source documents like vendor invoices, purchase orders, receipts, credit memos, bills, etc. still requires manual effort. These documents are typically created at the edges of an organization anywhere from a warehouse to a remote site office, where a company initiates business with external stakeholders like vendors and customers. An example would be a purchase order created at a subsidiary office or a vendor invoice received at a branch office rather than the main corporate office. Transaction documents must be quickly accessed, processed and exported to a Cloud ERP platform where the data can be used more effectively for planning, reporting, analysis, and to make informed business decisions.
The trouble with implementing document-based processes including accounts payable, sales order processing, medical claims processing, check remittance handling, etc. is that data often comes in semi-structured or unstructured form. It takes long hours of manual effort to sort, classify, and perform data entry for each document and then re-enter the validated data into an ERP system. Not only is this kind of work monotonous and repetitive, but there is a good chance human error could render the entire process faulty.
There is a gap in automation from the moment data enters an organization to when it is inputted in a business application like Acumatica or NetSuite Cloud ERP. This lack of digitization of mission critical processes can delay data availability to cloud ERPs and subsequent business.
An intelligent process automation platform can streamline document-based tasks and accelerate data availability to a cloud ERP system. Accounts payable automation software combines digital transformation technologies like machine learning, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), intelligent data capture, AI, Business Process Automation (BPA), and advanced recognition software including OCR/ICR/OMR technologies to perform straight-through processing of unstructured and semi-structured documents.
The accounts payable automation software is equipped to perform a wide range of intelligent document processing work including data capture and extraction, data validation, automatic document routing for approvals, and automatic export to a connected cloud ERP system.
In its March 2018 survey, Aberdeen Research made a compelling case as to why companies are increasingly making the shift to cloud-based ERP software. The time-to-ROI for cloud users is 26% faster than that of non-cloud users. Not just that; apart from the standardization of entities across an organization and 46% faster implementation time, Aberdeen predicts this will be the last major ERP change in the years to come. That means cloud ERP solutions and cloud based application software are here to stay.
With more and more businesses transitioning their core functions to the cloud, it makes sense that even AP automation and other intelligent document processing software are cloud based. Afterall, the research also suggests that those on the cloud are 2 times more likely to have visibility across processes and data (Aberdeen Research, March 2018).
Cloud technology enables the access and sharing of computing resources like servers, software, and databases over the internet. Accounts payable automation in the cloud lowers the footprint of physical computing hardware and auxiliary components. Results from process automation, brought about by AP automation software, can be directly exported to a cloud ERP system. Accounts payable automation software integrated with a cloud ERP system like Acumatica or Netsuite creates an end-to-end chain for intelligent document processing. This chain helps eliminate data silos and establishes a continuous flow of information between departments.
Benefits of Cloud-Hosted Accounts Payable Automation Software