AP departments are increasingly trading manual, paper-intensive processes for AP automation, and for good reason. An accounts payable workflow can simplify invoice processing by reducing manual tasks, boosting transaction visibility, and accelerating invoice approvals. Gaining these benefits through automated AP operations can also boost your overall efficiency, a goal that’s more urgent for organizations now than ever.
In the past couple of years, AP departments have been facing an increase in challenges that are becoming impossible to ignore. According to IOFM, most organizations are in great need of improving efficiency, with its 2022 study revealing:
- Over 75% of AP teams are processing more invoices in the most recent quarter (it was 66% in the previous two quarters)
- 84% of the typical AP practitioner’s day is spent completing manual tasks
- 33% of AP professionals are working longer hours (hello, burnout 🔥)
- 8% of AP professionals are working an additional two hours each day
- 24% of AP leaders report struggling to get their suppliers paid on time
To face these challenges, many see AP automation as the key to getting the job done efficiently while avoiding employee burnout. Let’s explore four areas where AP automation can help you boost efficiency to accomplish this goal.
4 Accounts Payable Workflows for Better Efficiency
1. Invoice Entry and Categorization
Entering invoices from different vendors can be an incredibly complex process. Invoices can arrive through various digital and paper formats and channels, making the process highly manual and tedious. AP automation simplifies the process with its ability to efficiently handle and forward invoices arriving in any channel, from email to fax and more.
Automation can easily support invoices in any format, including:
- Fax Files
- Paper Documents
2. Invoice Data Capture and Validation
Manual data capture and entry is typically the most time-consuming part of an AP employee’s day. It’s also costly and prone to human error and duplications, but all these issues can be solved with automated AP operations. Automating the data entry and validation processes solves these issues. Due to the repetitive nature of these manual tasks, AP automation can immediately detect errors. As a result, AP automation can significantly improve your payment accuracy, with the top tools capturing invoice data at 99.5% accuracy. The system will then alert the correct people to resolve these issues based on your specifications. This way, resolution won’t be delayed or forgotten.
With an API-level integration with your AP automation solution, invoices can be directly uploaded into your ERP for added ease. This integration also allows for a bi-directional sync that continuously transfers data between your ERP and AP automation solution.
3. Invoice Routing Dispatch and Approval
Invoices must pass through a multi-layered procedure before they’re ready for payment processing, which ensures they get appropriate approvals for related deviation handling and authorization. This high volume of steps means that many AP employees are involved with the end-to-end process. Unfortunately, this reality can significantly slow down the process and lead to late supplier payments. AP automation can help by designating each invoice to the appropriate department or person for the request or order. This technology also makes it easy to build a streamlined approval workflow that keeps the process moving swiftly.
4. Invoice Accurate Matching and Verification Procedure
Comparing and matching invoices received with other relevant documents is vital to ensure accuracy. However, when you fulfill this process manually, it’s easy to miss inconsistencies, duplicates, and errors. For some, tracking down relevant documents can be difficult, especially if they’re in paper form. AP automation’s capture abilities make this challenge a thing of the past. Additionally, AP automation matches and verifies invoices, simplifying the procedure.
Thrive and Adapt Faster with AP Automation
As expectations and invoice volumes continue to climb, automated AP operations is vital to help AP departments stay ahead. Not only can AP automation boost invoice processing’s efficiency, but it can even build agility and evolve.
Wis-Pak recently spearheaded its digital transformation by implementing AP automation. Since implementation, Wis-Pack has enjoyed greater process visibility, accuracy, and has cut the time they once spent coding and approving invoices in half. Plus, they’ve been able to adapt to the rising demand for remote and hybrid work models. They can now perform AP functions from anywhere with ease.
How Wis-Pak Digitally Transformed its AP Processing
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