When you look at the options available to companies today to automate their finance and accounting processes, it’s surprising the extent to which accounts payable and accounts receivable work constitutes manual labor. From handling and filing physical and digital invoices, to manually routing documents for approval (either via a mail cart, Fedex or via email), to keying in data to ERP systems by hand, it’s no surprise that most companies struggle to keep up.
All too often, AP is viewed as a cost center, and the manual work they do is simply perceived as a cost of doing business.
But there IS a better way. One that makes better use of the talented, hard-working and detail-oriented people who gravitate towards work in accounts payable.
Today, intelligent process automation is transforming the work that accounts payable team member do — empowering them to go beyond data entry and document handling, emailing invoice approvers or calling vendors, to contributing to budgeting, planning and analysis work that adds value to the organization.
IPA-driven accounts payable automation solutions are designed to be flexible enough to function reliably in the real world, where a quarter of an AP person’s time is typically spent chasing down AP process errors and exceptions.
Unlike their less intelligent predecessors, intelligent AP process automation solutions tackle the problem of process exceptions head on. By applying machine learning to the issue of coding rules for the system to follow, they lead AP process owners identify and solve for an exception once, in a way that allows the system to record those actions and adapt their algorithms to tackle the same issue on their own the next time.
This is a huge breakthrough — one that overcomes the challenge of trying to code or configure a rule for every real world condition. And that’s what’s so new and different about today’s AP automation solutions.
Another big difference is that today’s systems embrace new, more intelligent and flexible approaches to integration with ERP, ECM and other business systems. One of the traditional benefits of AP automation in general is the ability to 1) validate data through integration with an ERP and 2) flow data extracted from an invoice or other purchasing document into the ERP to create a payable transaction without any manual data entry.
One challenge with any ERP (or data system) integration in the past is what happens when you make a change to that system (like an upgrade)? All too often, companies relying on on-premise ERP systems remain on their original version of that system because of the risk of breaking an integration point, or the cost of maintaining that integration.
Intelligent AP Automation solutions solve for that problems using modern IPaaS (integration platform as a service) models that are designed to overcome rigid, proprietary integration solutions that require IT/development overhead to maintain.
Chances are, you sense a pattern here when it comes to intelligent process automation. Flexibility, adaptability and a reduced dependence on IT/development are the real differentiators when you compare traditional, rules-based systems to today’s more intelligent solutions.
From a practical standpoint, here’s what that means for your AP team. In the past, your typical AP staff member would spend a quarter of their time sorting, filing and/or scanning invoices. A quarter of their time, according to industry benchmarks, would be spent resolving errors and exceptions. The remaining half of their time would be spend on approvals, coding, ERP transaction entry and payment processing.
Insert intelligent AP automation into the equation, and those team members save time, reduce costs and are able to do more meaningful work by relying in the system to:
The path to the future and a break from the status quo is easier than you may think! To learn more how to transform your AP process, request a demonstration of the Artsyl’s InvoiceAction and see how to make a smarter, more effective automated process flow a reality for your organization.