Give Your AP Process Wings: Elevating Your AP Operations Does More Than Cut Costs. It Empowers Employees and Drives Better Vendor Relationships

If someone were to offer you $1,000 to go from Los Angeles to New York, would you choose to take a plane, or opt to walk so you could pocket the money?

August 18, 2016

If someone were to offer you $1,000 to go from Los Angeles to New York, would you choose to take a plane, or opt to walk so you could pocket the money?

Today, businesses that still rely on manual AP processes are having essentially opted to walk when they could fly. Extending the metaphor one step further, choosing AP automation is like opting for that plane ticket. There may be a short term savings, but the time, effort, pain and inconvenience makes the choice an easy one for three reasons: total cost, effort and visibility.

It’s Cheaper to Fly

According to AIIM, the average cost to manually process vendor payments has grown from $10.15 to $22.75 over the past decade. That number seems incredible, until you factor in all of the effort that goes into processing invoices manually, in addition to the penalties for late payments, duplicate payments and other errors.

There are four main sources of labor costs associated with invoice processing:

  • Sorting/filing invoices
  • Data entry from invoices into ERP/business systems
  • Routing/approval for payment
  • Exception handling

Processing an invoice by relying on automation to intelligently capture data from a scanned paper or digital invoice addresses each of these steps and reduces 90% of the effort. Intelligent capture solutions can essentially “read” an invoice to identify actionable data. Once information like vendor names, addresses, invoice amounts and other details are captured, intelligent capture solutions can file, sort and route invoices for approval, and enter extracted data into ERP, ECM or other business systems.

Best of all, automated intelligent capture solutions reduce errors by validating the data they capture from invoices by cross-referencing that data against ERP/business system records. They can double-check invoice line item totals, validate a vendor name/address and check for duplicate invoices. That reduces the number of ‘red flags’ that your staff has to follow up on and reduces the risk of delayed or duplicate payments that incur added costs and penalties.

Get a bird’s eye view of your AP process and get a handle on cash flow

Companies that opt to ‘do the leg work’ when it comes to invoices often lack proper visibility to invoice accruals and lack the level of visibility and control that could achieve with an automated solution. Intelligent capture solutions allow AP departments to monitor outstanding invoices from the moment the invoice is captured and routed to the moment it is approved and paid. Accrual reports can support near real-time visibility to outstanding invoices that impact cash flow. Automatic system alerts can identify approval bottlenecks or help to ensure that payment cycle times are short enough to avoid penalties and capture early pay discounts.

Achieve new levels of productivity and empowerment

Data capture solutions can help companies to get to where they want to go, more quickly and efficiently than ever before. Intelligent capture solutions that demonstrate immediate benefit to AP teams can drive the same kind of business process transformation throughout finance operations and throughout an organization, relieving the burden of manual document and data handling for employees who are then empowered to do more to achieve strategic goals.

Ultimately, intelligent capture doesn’t just elevate your operations—it elevates and empowers your people to achieve more and feel more satisfied in their role in your company’s mission.

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