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Accounts Payable Pain Points – Learn How To Resolve Them!

Matt Wald
Author:Matt Wald

Pity the poor AP clerk or specialist: there are just so many accounts payable pain points!

Efficient accounts payable (AP) processes are crucial for businesses to maintain strong financial health.

However, traditional manual AP procedures often pose significant pain points, resulting in burned out AP staff, bloated AP departments, delayed payments, errors, and strained relationships with vendors.

Fortunately, with the advent of accounts payable automation, these pain points can be effectively addressed, leading to streamlined operations and improved financial management.

In this article, we will explore four common AP pain points—lengthy invoice processing, excessive data entry, invoice approval delays, and matching purchase order line items to receipt line items —and how automation solutions alleviate these challenges.

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We know some people learn better from video, so here are all the details in video format.

Pain Point 1: Lengthy Invoice Processing

AP staff know that around 85% of their time is spent on manual tasks such as keying invoice data, chasing down approvals, fixing errors, and responding to calls and emails about the state of payments.

As a result, finance teams have no time left in their schedule to focus on improving the bottom line by shopping for cheaper vendors or seeking early pay discounts.

Traditional AP processes involve multiple steps, including invoice receipt, manual data entry, matching invoices with purchase orders, obtaining necessary approvals, and finally, initiating payment.

The lengthy process can lead to delays, human errors, and increased operational costs.

Accounts Payable Automation Pain Point Solution

By implementing AP automation software, businesses can significantly reduce the number of steps involved in invoice processing. In fact, the goal of CoreIntegrator’s AP automation solutions is to make invoice processing totally automated and virtually touchless.

Our automation solutions automatically captures and extracts data from incoming invoices with near 100% accuracy, eliminating the need for manual data entry. It also integrates with your accounting or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, automatically matches invoices with corresponding purchase orders, and flags any discrepancies for review.

This streamlined approach accelerates the entire process, allowing for quicker approvals and faster payments, thus improving vendor relationships.

Get a free consultation with an AP automation expert today!

Pain Point 2: Excessive Data Entry

Manual data entry is not only time-consuming but also prone to errors.

Manually inputting data from invoices into the accounting system increases the likelihood of mistakes, which can lead to discrepancies, payment delays, and strained relationships with suppliers.

Accounts Payable Automation Pain Point Solution

Accounts payable automation eliminates the need for manual data entry by leveraging optical character recognition (OCR) technology.

OCR extracts information from invoices, such as invoice number, date, vendor details, and line-item details, and automatically populates the corresponding fields in the AP system.

This automation not only saves time but also minimizes data entry errors, ensuring accurate and reliable invoice processing.

But world-class AP automation solutions like CoreIntegrator offer a Verified Data Capture Service. This service eliminates the need for expensive OCR hardware and software. You just email invoices to our secure cloud and the data appears in your work queue within one business day. And best of all, our AI-driven service provides near 100% accuracy because it includes human review! This video explains how.

Pain Point 3: Chasing Down Invoice Approvals

Obtaining timely approvals for invoices can be a time-consuming process in manual AP workflows.

Inefficiencies, such as misplaced paperwork, lack of visibility, and manual follow-ups, lead to significant delays and hinder the smooth operation of the AP department.

AP specialists report that chasing down invoice approvals is the most frustrating part of their job. They have to figure out where invoices are stuck, then bother busy managers and executives to get required approvals.

It’s a no-win situation.

Accounts Payable Automation Pain Point Solution

Automation streamlines the approval process by providing a centralized platform where invoices can be easily accessed, reviewed, and approved.

Authorized personnel receive automated notifications and reminders about pending approvals, reducing the need for manual follow-ups and taking AP clerks out of the awkward task of demanding time and attention from executives.

Additionally, automation offers real-time visibility into the approval status of invoices, enabling faster decision-making and proactive management. And when an invoice gets stuck in the approval process, the AP department knows exactly where, and how to un-stick it.

By eliminating the need for manual tracking and follow-ups, AP automation ensures that invoices move swiftly through the approval chain, leading to improved efficiency and faster payment cycles.

This video explains why every manager loves AP automation software for approving invoices.

Pain Point 4: Matching PO Line Items to Receipt Line Items

AP specialists report that the single most tedious and mind-numbing pain point they face is matching purchase order line items to receipt line items.

Typically with a manual match, a member of the accounts payable team gathers all the relevant paper documents in a transaction in order to satisfy the matching procedures. He or she looks at each line of each document to make sure they all match.

Now imagine a receipt with a 10 pages of line items. Someone has to match it to a 10 page PO invoice. AND match it to a 10 page packing slip. That’s a LOT of lines to match. And that’s for ONE invoice!

Manual invoice matching is even more difficult when a PO remains open for months or even years and products or services are delivered over time.

And, worse, people can lose paper documents, pay duplicate invoices and misread figures. Any manual system is subject to both human error as well as fraud.

Worst of all, managing stacks of paperwork and invoices is a repetitive and soul-sucking task that is incredibly inefficient and destroys employee morale.

Manually matching purchase orders is a nightmare!

Accounts Payable Automation Solution

AP automation applies two types of AI that can make PO matching virtually touchless.

The first is OCR matching. This feature is able to extract the data from scanned documents and PDFs. It compares learned fields between invoices and receipts. Then it highlights and flags any discrepancies so your procurement specialist can investigate.

But this approach, used by most of the AP automation solutions out there, does not make PO matching touchless due to the fact that OCR tech is not perfect.

That’s why at CoreIntegrator we developed AI that augments OCR PO matching called SmartMatch. SmartMatch is a revolutionary breakthrough in PO matching. Using a proprietary algorithm, it is able to perform PO matching on any invoice and reciept – even if there are no SKUs or part numbers!

Learn more about SmartMatch from this video.

Bottom Line: How AP Automation Resolves Accounts Payable Pain Points

The Accounts payable automation process is transforming the way businesses manage their financial processes.

By addressing key pain points such as lengthy invoice processing, excessive data entry, invoice approval delays, and PO matching, automation and AI streamline operations, reduce errors, and enhance relationships with vendors.

Don’t settle for digitization of your AP process. Unless your AP process is virtually touchless by human hands, you have not resolved all your accounts payable pain points.

Embracing true AP automation will empower your businesses to achieve greater efficiency, accuracy, and financial control, ultimately contributing to your overall success in a competitive marketplace.

Get a free consultation with an AP automation expert