What are the AP automation best practices for 2023?
At CoreIntegrator we have nearly 25 years of experience in AP automation. So we have a broad perspective on AP automation best practices. We’ve seen AP automation fads come and go.
The fundamental reason to implement AP automation remains the same in 2023: save time and money in the procure to pay process.
But AP automation best practices changed rapidly during and then after the pandemic because AP automation development teams kept busy building innovative functionally during that period.
So, the great news is that today there is new accounts payable automation functionality that simply did not exist two years ago. Options that provide an incredible degree of accuracy in PO matching as well as automated and verified data capture.
In 2023, the long-sought-after dream of truly touchless invoice processing has arrived!
So we’re excited to share our Best Practices for AP Automation in 2023:
AP Automation Best Practices for 2023:
- 2023 is the Year to move to PO Purchasing – and SmartMatch 3 Way PO Matching Makes That Possible
- Verified AP Data Capture Service Outshines OCR for Capturing Invoice Header Information
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Technology is Here to Stay
- Combine Verified AP Data Capture with RPA for Fully Automated Accounts Payable Processing
- Remote and Hybrid Workplaces are Here to Stay – AP Departments Must Adapt
- Maximize AP Automation ROI in 2023
2023 is the Year to move to PO Purchasing – and SmartMatch 3 Way PO Matching Makes That Possible
2023 is the year to move to PO purchasing.
It just makes sense: purchases should be approved BEFORE they are made rather than AFTER. This best practice allows companies to control costs and manage cash. It eliminates surprises in the procurement process and ensures budget compliance.
But the major factor holding companies back from moving to PO purchasing is how much it can slow the procurement process down. Particularly in the area of matching POs with receipts and invoices.
To be sure, PO matching is one of the most tedious and error prone tasks in the accounts payable department.
But in 2023, you can make a vast majority of PO matching virtually touchless!
SmartMatch is 3 way match automation for purchase orders that not only uses OCR to look for exact matches between characters, but then also uses algorithms and machine learning to identify whether line items match.
First, SmartMatch looks at what items or services have been received. And then it checks the extended totals of the lines. Using our proprietary algorithms, the system then calculates what combinations of lines are being invoiced against – based on subtotals. Finally, the system automatically uses this calculation to perform the 3 way match for you.
And because it is using math in addition to looking at characters, SmartMatch cuts out an enormous amount of manual intervention from the automated 3-way match process making the entire process of PO matching virtually touchless.
Best of all, SmartMatch is so smart that it works just well on partially received orders as it does when all items or services are delivered at once.
And it works equally well with SKU or non-SKU POs!
SmartMatch truly takes 3-way matching to the next level.
It allows any organization to move to PO purchasing in 2023 without having to worry about slowing down the procurement process!
Take a deeper look at SmartMatch in this video:
Verified AP Data Capture Service Outshines OCR for Capturing Invoice Header Information
When most people think of AP automation OCR is the first thing that comes to mind. Run an invoice through OCR technology and the key data from the invoice magically appears in your system.
But if you have ever worked with OCR technology – or even had a demo of it – you know that even in 2023 OCR software is far from perfect.
OCR technology has improved over the past decades and continues to improve. But achieving 99% or 100% accuracy with OCR alone is still not possible. Not even close. In our experience, OCR data capture accuracy remains mired at around 70-80%.
Which means that even with an OCR-based AP automation solutions your AP staff still spends time verifying AP data against invoices.
And that’s why in 2023 the state of the art CoreIntegrator Verified AP Data Capture Service leaves less reliable OCR systems in the dust for accurately capturing invoice header information.
Verified AP data capture service combines OCR technology with human review to achieve 99.9% accuracy on AP invoice data capture.
Best of all, no expensive OCR software or hardware is required. Instead, your AP staff or your vendors simply upload or email invoices to our system in the Cloud. Invoice data will appear in your AP clerk’s work queue within 1 business day with important data automatically entered in your system ready to be processed.
And up to four humans will check, re-check, and verify that your AP invoice data is accurate.
CoreIntegrator Data Capture Service verifies your invoice header data is accurate so you and your team don’t have to!
That’s a huge AP automation best practice for 2023!
If your 2023 accounts payable automation solution does not provide automated verified invoice data capture then you are missing out on modern best practices.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Technology is Here to Stay
Robotic process automation (RPA) makes your accounts payable data entry far easier and more efficient.
RPA like CoreIntegrator’s Smart AP uses key fields to auto populate learned fields.
For example, if you always prepare your invoices based on the vendor, then vendor is your key field and Smart AP auto-populates your system based on how you processed an invoice from that vendor in the past.
But sometimes your process isn’t quite that simple. Maybe your key values are a combination of fields, such as company name, then vendor as well as the department or facility the invoice should be charged to.
Now you have three key fields and once you enter those key values, all the rest of the information will auto-populate based on how you processed the invoice with those three key values the last time.
Think of it like autocomplete on steroids. Because it doesn’t just guess what word you are going to type, it learns how you want fields filled based on how you filled them before using the same key data.
RPA technology significantly reduces repetitive data entry tasks like entering descriptions, approval workflows, and GL coding, making it another AP automation best practice for 2023.
This short video demos how smart AP makes AP data entry more efficient.
Combine Verified AP Data Capture with RPA for Fully Automated Accounts Payable Processing
AP data capture service provides 99.9% accuracy for automating the entry of invoice header data from AP invoices.
AP RPA populates learned fields including GL coding and descriptions based on key data from AP invoices.
So combining a verified AP data capture service with RPA creates a fully automated invoice processing process.
With this powerful combination of tools your AP staff are completely freed from repetitive and time-consuming invoice processing because every AP invoice processing step from procure to pay is truly and fully automated.
Remote and Hybrid Workplaces are Here to Stay – AP Departments Must Adapt
2020 was the year that the ability to do remote work went from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’ as companies and organizations around the globe rolled out mandatory remote work or work from home policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This resulted in major disruptions to business flows. Especially for companies that are still mired in manual and paper-based business processes.
We all thought that 2021 would be the year things returned to normal. But COVID variants has other ideas in mind.
In 2022 many organizations continued to allow remote or hybrid work arrangements. Others moved to permanent voluntary remote work or even closed their physical offices and became completely remote organizations.
Whatever the case, in 2023 your business operations need to continue no matter where your staff work from. And that includes paying the bills.
So an AP automation best practice (if not an absolute requirement) for 2023 is the ability for your company to maintain business continuity in a virtual environment and accommodate the processing AP invoices from anywhere.
And even if your organization is entirely back in the office, companies and organization must make the ability to work from home part of their business continuity or disaster recovery plans in the event of a future calamity.
Maximize AP Automation ROI in 2023
The most expensive part of any AP process is people.
According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for a Accounts Payable Specialist is $40,456 in United States. And that’s just base pay. Benefits, taxes and bonuses can drive that cost much higher.
But even if you can find an accounts payable specialist or AP clerk for less, you will be adding permanent overhead costs to your company or organization.
AP automation can make your existing AP clerks and AP specialists up to 500 times more efficient.
It allows your team to do a lot more a lot faster!
An AP best practice for 2023 is to allow your AP staff to spend time on strategic initiatives rather than data entry and verification. Or even reduce headcount in your AP department.
Bottom Line – Accounts Payable Automation Best Practices for 2023
There have never been better reasons to automate your accounts payable process.
Automating accounts payable has always been a great investment.
But 2023 is the year to move to PO purchasing if you haven’t already. Because PO matching just got touchless!
And it’s the year when unreliable OCR technology has been surpassed by verified AP data capture.
Most importantly, it’s the year to combine verified AP data capture with RPA to create a truly fully automated AP process.
Applying accounts payable automation best practices in 2023 can create a fully automated AP process with high ROI. So high that it will pay for itself and start putting money back in your pocket.
Right now is the time to look into automating your AP process!