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The Business Case for AP Automation

January 14, 2020

Why NOW is the Time to Take Action

While it may seem obvious to your accounts payable team that manual processes are a waste of time, effort and talent, selling the investment on automation to the CFO often generates a common reaction—why now, and why fix a process that doesn’t seem broken.

What’s Wrong With the Status Quo?

The old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” doesn’t apply when it comes to accounts payable processes that still rely on paper documents or digital invoices that have to be sorted and processed for coding, approval and payment processing.

With a marginal investment in time and dollars, automating accounts payable invariably:

  • Increases efficiency
  • Reduces costs
  • Delivers better control over cash

The biggest challenge when it comes to AP processes and the status quo are often competing priorities and other internal opportunities for process efficiency that stand to promise more strategic benefits.

The flip side of this equation is that solving for the pain points of AP has become simpler, easier and less costly due to the application of low code, high intelligence process automation solutions. Simply stated, you can solve a painful process problem quickly and easily, in a way that will adapt to changes in your business.

A recent Levvel Research Payables Insight Report bears out that the problems of manual AP processes are universal. A full 48% of AP professionals identified manual data entry and inefficient processes as their number-one pain point. As a result, the cost associated with processing a single invoice is demonstrably out of proportion to the work involved. With estimates ranging between $4-$15 per invoice, invoice processing costs don’t just reflect the manual efforts of your staff to sort, file, route and enter data from an approved invoice into an accounting system. The number is inflated by the costs of duplicates, errors and exceptions that come from human error—which is magnified by the volume and velocity of invoices that a typical AP team has to deal with.

Time is Running Out

In many ways, manual AP processes can be a canary in the coal mine for companies that are systemically dependent on inefficient, manual processes. The symptoms of the old way of doing things include a lack of visibility to timely business data (including cash flow and general ledger accruals), lack of a clear compliance process audit trail and an inability to scale as business grows, without adding staff.

The Bottom Line

Most often, it’s this last factor, scalability, that leads to a reckoning and a decision to automate. The ROI argument in those cases becomes clear napkin math—the cost of adding another person just to handle invoices and payments versus a system that can address the added workload AND streamlines the entire process for everyone.

Consider, however, the cost and burden of systems and processes as they exist today, which includes paying staff members to perform low-level tasks under duress, in a way that adds little value. Instead, imagine empowering those workers to add more value by way of support for forecasting, budgeting and optimizing cash and payment discounts.

That’s where the conversation gets really interesting, and the benefits of automation align for your executive team and your back office staff.

Learn More and Put Your Vision into Action

To learn more about how docAlpha can deliver a complete, end-to-end solution for digitizing critical documents and streamlined processes, visit the Artsyl Technologies Resource Page at

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