Automating accounts payable in your organization will save time and money, improve your internal processes and make your managers and employees happier.
It is also a key element to your business continuity plan or disaster recovery plan!
Here are 9 reasons why you should be automating your accounts payable process.
Table of contents
- 1. Save Money and Time
- 2. AP Automation Makes Invoice Approvals Easy for Managers and Department Leaders
- 3. AP Automation Improves Accuracy
- 4. AP Automation Allows You to Earn Early Payment Discounts and Avoid Late Payment Penalties
- 5. Improve Cash Flow Management Through AP Automation
- 6. AP Automation Provides Legal and Audit Compliance
- 7. AP Automation Improves Security and Protects Against Fraud
- 8. Automating AP Processes Can Reduce the Size of Your AP Department
- 9. AP Automation Enables Remote Work
- Bottom Line – 9 Reasons to Automate Your Accounts Payable Process Beyond Saving Money
1. Save Money and Time
Automating your accounts payable process will save your organization time and money. That’s a given.
We explain how and exactly how much money you can save in our article How Much Time and Money Does Invoice Automation and Tracking Save?.
Automating accounts payable saves so much money that it will pay for itself!
Check out our detailed costs savings and ROI calculator that you use can use to calculate what your company might save.
Or we would be happy to run a report specific for your organization.
2. AP Automation Makes Invoice Approvals Easy for Managers and Department Leaders
Invoice approvers tend to be very busy people with tight schedules. They’re leaders, managers, salespeople and executives.
These are busy staff, doing their job of selling products, managing people or delivering results. Often doing so while traveling or working remotely.
And while every invoice approver wants to manage their budget and expenses by reviewing invoices before they are paid, no manager or executive wants to waste time or energy on that task.
With AP automation they won’t have to.
AP automation solutions like CoreIntegrator Enterprise and A/P One cloud based subscription service makes invoice approvals simple for approvers. They will be able to see an image of actual invoices from anywhere in the world and approve them with a single click.
Our AP automation solutions also gives approvers immediate insight into an invoice status for those awkward moments when managers, salespeople or executives are talking to impatient vendors who want to know when they will get paid.
Implementing AP automation software makes your entire approval process more efficient. And in doing so relieves accounting employees from monotonous tasks and frees them to use their skills in more productive ways.
You also make invoice approvers happier by letting them see and approve invoices from anywhere in the world and with a single click!
And happier employees are more productive employees!
3. AP Automation Improves Accuracy
Manual processes are inherently inefficient and prone to mistakes.
When humans manually enter invoice information your data accuracy, reliability and integrity become questionable elements in your AP process. Even the most diligent AP specialist sometimes makes ‘fat finger’ data entry mistakes. The wrong digit or a misplaced comma can throw everything off.
That’s why manual processes include the constant need to double-check figures. But that’s still relying on one human to double-check another human’s work.
Human error is a constant threat in manual procedures. In fact, the Institute of Finance and Management reports that about 3.6% of supplier invoices generated in manual processes include errors. That’s an unacceptably high rate of errors.
And supplier and vendors get justifiably upset when they are not paid the correct amount!
Accounts payable automation is an effective way to eliminate the chance of human errors from your AP process. Our automated Verified AP Data Capture Service uses both technology and human review to assure 99.9% AP data accuracy.
And AP automation will even spot mistakes and correct them without much human intervention.
Accounts payable automation software also standardizes all invoice data into defined workflows. So even if you have different teams entering invoices into your automated system, your workflow is automatically standardized to your company’s defined invoice process.
This means clear and streamlined payments, consistency in your AP process, and a flawless process for your finance team and accountants.
Automate your accounts payable process to significantly improve your payment accuracy.
4. AP Automation Allows You to Earn Early Payment Discounts and Avoid Late Payment Penalties
Do you and your accounting team look at ‘2% 10, net 30’ payment terms and wish you could take advantage of early payment discounts?
Smart AP automation makes that possible.
Manual data invoice data entry and invoice approval processes are slow and inefficient. AP automation makes data entry 500 times more efficient!
And worse, with manual processing, you may find yourself making late payment penalties. This hurts your bottom line, creates stress and uncertainty for your vendors and suppliers and gives your organization a bad reputation.
Automating your accounts payable process will accelerate the invoice data entry and approval cycle time significantly. So much so that your organization can regularly qualify for vendor discounts for early payment!
And you’ll never pay a late fee again!
So AP automation software not only saves your company overhead by making your processes more efficient, it makes your employees happier, and will make you eligible for discount payment terms too.
5. Improve Cash Flow Management Through AP Automation
AP automation software gives your management and accounting team better command over cash flow, providing opportunities to positively manage cash to your organization’s advantage.
AP automation software makes it easy to create monthly, quarterly or half-year reports. These can be created and reviewed in almost real time.
So you’ll be able to use AP automation to determine where money-saving opportunities exist and take advantage of them through invoice payment prioritization.
Going back to the idea of taking advantage of early payment discounts, you may find a vendor who offers a 2% early payment discount that you are missing out on each month. Yet you consistently pay another vendor two weeks early with no early payment discount for doing so. AP automation simplifies invoice payment prioritization so you can adjust the payment schedule and capitalize on the early payment discount.
Automating accounts payable also gives your accounting team tools for improved visibility and forecasting.
As invoices go through the system, AP automation tracks every change and event and stores the information in a database.
You can access these records in real-time, and the easily-searchable database puts all the information needed to monitor cash flow and plan for future purchases right at your fingertips.
Read our article: How to Analyze Accounts Payable Data to Save Money to learn more.
6. AP Automation Provides Legal and Audit Compliance
These same AP automation tracking and reporting features that improve cash flow management mean that automating your accounts payable processes create detailed audit trails, flexible security models and approval histories.
Using AP automation software makes your audits far less time-consuming and cheaper.
Governments around the country and the world are digitally transforming their tax-reporting and financial processes. Meanwhile, state and federal regulations place additional requirements on record retention and storage.
But with AP automation, auditors will have access to all of your AP data at their fingertips without having to dig through paper files, look at approval initials on pieces of paper, or search for lost documents.
So not only will audits be smoother, it will be easier to maintain compliance with state and federal regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX).
7. AP Automation Improves Security and Protects Against Fraud
Scams and embezzlement can cost your company money and embarrassment.
Automating your accounts payable process can eliminate paper checks. And payments without proper approval will never happen again.
AP automation solutions like CoreIntegrator include extensive verification protocols to ensure that all invoices are correct and proper.
It highlights unknown suppliers and sends alerts to appropriate managers about possible fraudulent activity. With invoice controls, double-payment of invoices is impossible.
And if fraud should occur, AP automation will tell you what happened, how it happened, and who was behind it.
AP automation gives you deep insight into who authorized payments and what types of verification steps they went through before the approval was given.
Therefore, if fraud happens, AP automation gives you a clear picture of who is responsible.
8. Automating AP Processes Can Reduce the Size of Your AP Department
Hiring an accounts payable specialist or accounts payable clerk is an arduous process. And no one wants to add permanent overhead to their business unless absolutely necessary.
So before you go down the path of starting a search for additional AP staff carefully consider implementing AP automation instead.
AP automation allows your AP staff to do more with less.
AP automation can make your existing AP clerks and AP specialists up to 500 times more efficient.
Seem too good to be true? It’s not.
Manually entering invoice data is one of the most time-consuming tasks required when processing invoices for accounts payable. And it inevitably leads to ‘fat finger’ mistakes that require double and triple checking.
AP automation is a staff force multiplier for your AP department.
When your AP specialists and AP clerks are no longer spending a bulk of their time manually entering invoice data they are freed to take on new duties and responsibilities. They can add value to your organization without adding any expense.
Automation graduates your AP staff from spending all their time on humdrum data entry to valuable activities like data analysis, vendor relations and other strategic initiatives.
With AP automation your AP department becomes part of a broader procure-to-pay strategy.
9. AP Automation Enables Remote Work
Companies 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, particularly for companies that are still mired in manual and paper-based business processes.
But your business operations need to continue no matter where you work and – that includes paying the bills.
AP automation helps your company maintain business continuity in a virtual environment by accommodating work from home.
In fact, some of our customers’ AP staff will continue to work remote even after the pandemic. Are you considering letting your AP staff work remotely, but concerned about productivity? AP automation will allow you to track your AP staff’s productivity from anywhere!
Contact us now and we’ll have you ready to process AP invoices remotely in days – not weeks or months – and you’ll be one step closer to running your operations remotely.
With AP automation your AP staff will be prepared for the next disaster.
Bottom Line – 9 Reasons to Automate Your Accounts Payable Process Beyond Saving Money
Saving money is great. And automating your accounts payable process will achieve that goal.
But there are so many more reasons to implement AP automation – from employee morale to tax compliance and audit compliance to disaster recovery!