How to Automate Accounts Payable

Free AP from paperwork and manual processes

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What is accounts payable automation?

Accounts payable (AP) automation is the technology that streamlines the end to end accounts payable process, from procurement to invoice processing to payment approval. 

Some of the manual functions that can benefit from automation are:

  • Invoice capturing
  • Data validating
  • Purchase order matching
  • Invoice routing and approval
  • Payment
  • Reporting

How to automate accounts payable

Hyland offers an accounts payable automation solution that uses intelligent data capture, workflow automation and seamless integration with your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

The AP automation solution works by providing:

  • Electronic capture of invoices and supporting documents. Invoices in paper, email, EDI or other formats can be captured via optical character recognition (OCR) and intelligent capture to eliminate manual data entry.
  • Accounts payable workflow. The entire process is automated and workflow is triggered when certain steps are completed. Approvers also receive a notification when there are tasks that require their action.
  • Integration and mobile access. The solution integrates seamlessly with accounting systems, ERPs and email clients so employees can view all information from one platform without switching applications. The added convenience of mobile access makes approvals faster and easier for remote employees.
  • Real-time data and analytics. Get a complete view of the end to end accounts payable process and generate reports that provide insight into cash flow and process bottlenecks.

Benefits of automating accounts payable

The B2B payments market in the US — which amounts to $22 trillion — has still not caught up fast enough with technology that improves work productivity. A study shows that 36 percent of firms still use paper invoicing, 47 percent still rely on manual approval processes and 49 percent of payments are made by check, according to Business Insider Intelligence. 

The report also revealed that 44 percent of businesses are looking into how to automate accounts payable to overcome operational roadblocks that slow down productivity.

AP automation increases visibility, control and efficiency across the whole process. An automated AP process helps transform AP departments from cost centers into profit centers, so AP professionals can focus on supporting business strategic goals.

AP automation provides benefits like:

  • Reducing manual touches per transaction. By automating invoice capture, errors caused by manual data entry can be eliminated. This also saves an employee’s time, which can be spent on activities that require human interaction.
  • Reducing paper-based invoice processing. Most invoices are sent to AP departments as paper documents, so opting for e-invoicing reduces the amount of paper that employees have to sort, organize and file. 
  • Faster file routing and approval process. Once invoices are captured in the system, they can be automatically routed to the relevant approvers when certain conditions are met. Invoices no longer have to be walked over to the approver’s desk where they may sit for a few days before getting attention.
  • Saving on cost per invoice. Factors like paper, postage fees, photocopier ink and legacy software maintenance all contribute to process invoicing costs. But once these cost drivers are reduced through automation, your cost per invoice is cut down as well.
  • Instant access to information. In a traditional paper-based environment, it is difficult to locate where everything is or know what stage each invoice is in. But with digitized invoices that are stored in a central repository, you can easily view the information you need from a single location.
  • Reducing risk of fraud. Tracking capabilities record all activities on a particular transaction and create a fully visible audit trail. This minimizes instances of fraud, theft or costly errors

To learn more about how to automate accounts payable, contact us.