Is Paperless Accounts Payable Automation Software A Good Fit For Your Business?

As you consider your expense reports and scaling goals for the new year, your company is probably looking for new ways to speed up processes and cut costs. Paperless accounts payable automation software is a guaranteed way to deliver a strong ROI along with seamless invoice processing. But how do you know if AP automation software is a good fit for your business?

There are common misconceptions that some companies are too small to justify AP automation solutions or that it is not worth the investment on a tight budget. The truth is that most businesses who are looking to cut costs and scale will benefit enormously from paperless accounts payable software. 

This article will outline the problems that an AP automation solution will solve to help you meet your 2022 business goals. If these solutions are aligned with your priorities, then AP automation software is a perfect fit for your company.

Cut Costs with AP Automation Software

AP automation software cuts company costs to deliver a strong ROI. Have you considered the cost of printing paper invoices? Ink, paper, printer, and mailing costs stack up on top of labor costs. Manual data entry is also prone to error which can trigger overpayments, lost invoices, late payment fees, and duplicate payments that also cost your business profits.

According to Ardent Partner’s research, the average cost to process a fully-loaded invoice for those outside of the top 20% Best-In-Class is $17.61 while those who use AP automation solutions pay only $2.42 per invoice. Paperless invoice automation software uses Intelligent Data Capture (IDC) to quickly scan digital invoices and check for duplicate invoices or field errors. The AI technology that AP automation uses is simply faster and more accurate so your accounts payable department can focus on tracking KPIs that allow you to capture early payment discounts and have more visibility into cash flow. 

Say goodbye to filing cabinets and hefty supply costs. When your accounts payable team goes paperless with AP automation, your office will feel more spacious, your cash management will be more on point, and your menial costs will be eliminated. If spend management and increasing profits are important to your business, then AP automation will be a great fit.

Do you want to see how much you could be saving? Try our Paperless ROI Calculator

Improve Vendor and Supplier Relationships

Paperless accounts payable software improves vendor and supplier relationships by cutting invoice cycle times significantly. Have you ever sent late vendor payments that soured your relationship with a business partner? Slow paper processes frustrate vendors and supplies, while AP automation fixes the invoice approval process with built-in workflows so managers can approve invoices with a simple touch of a button. 

According to Ardent Partners’ research, companies that utilize accounts payable automation reduce their invoice cycles to an average of only 3.7 days while all others without B2B bill payment automation take an average of 17.1 days to process an invoice.

Manual processes put your business relationships at risk because vendor and supplier invoices shouldn’t take over two weeks to process. Your business partners are a crucial component to your success and they should never have to hunt you down to be paid. When your AP team comes off as unorganized, it reflects poorly on your whole business. By automating B2B payments, your vendors and suppliers are more likely to be loyal to your business because they see that you value on-time payments. Electronic payments and digital receipts are also a huge bonus because they help your business partners stay organized on their end.

If you are looking to improve vendor and supplier relationships, cut invoice processing cycles, and solidify lasting business partnerships, then AP automation is a great fit for your business.

Tighten Security Measures with Paperless Software

Let’s be honest, paper processes and stacks of paper checks are a huge security risk. A paperless process with AP automation software keeps electronic invoices in a secure cloud-based system with internal controls to keep your accounting systems safe.

Potential fraud risks are eliminated with built-in features to zip files and limit access controls in your AP automation software system. Only authorized approvers will be able to view invoices so the entire automated process is safe and secure as opposed to a loose paper invoice floating around on an employee’s desk.

If your company wants to tighten its financial security measures and improve document management in 2022, then a paperless accounts payable solution is a perfect strategy for reaching those goals.

Scale with Digital Transformation

The future of business rests on digital transformation and if your company has goals to scale, then implementing software solutions will be crucial to your success. The market is demanding faster processes with more digital features to improve the customer experience and this trend is only projected to grow. If your business wants to tap into new consumer bases and keep up with your competitors, then digital solutions should be a top priority.

Accounts payable automation software is a digital solution that will give your business the foundation you need to grow and scale. AP automation software has the capacity to process more invoices than your current payable team, so as you grow, the software will support your business and integrate seamlessly with other digital solutions like HR automation or Enterprise Content Management (ECM).

If you have plans to scale in 2022 and beyond, accounts payable automation is a great fit for your business.

Read more: How AP Automation Can Help Solve Your Company’s Scaling Challenges

Are you ready to take your accounts payable department and entire business to the next level? Contact us today.

 

Successful AP Automation Implementation: Solving Common Challenges with Preparation and Collaboration

Your company’s business processes will be cheaper, faster, and more secure with AP Automation software on your side, but with all necessary changes, there is a rocky period before seeing strong results.

Digital transformation may be daunting when your team considers the extra time and potential challenges that come with implementing a new process. However, the end result will leave entry errors and stacks of paper invoices as a distant nightmare when you’re accounts payable department processes paperless invoices for 86% less the cost in a 78% shorter cycle with AP Automation.

Preparation and collaboration are the tools you need for a successful AP Automation implementation. Here are some tips for combating common implementation challenges to ease your digital transformation.

Research Your AP Automation Solution

The first step to successful Accounts Payable Automation implementation is to research your software solution. Take the time to read case studies from other companies like you who have implemented automation processes and reach out to them to ask more questions about their experience.

Read some articles (like this one) about accounts payable solutions and research potential providers. Set up meetings with two or three providers that look appealing and come with questions and expectations. Take notes on the positives and negatives to prepare for potential challenges, set goals for ROI, and configure which solution is most tailored to your business needs. 

Questions to Ask Your Provider

Once you have properly researched your options and selected the right provider for your business functions, you should be asking the provider questions throughout the implementation process to ensure that you are well-informed and prepared for your accounts payable transformation. 

Here are some good questions to ask:

  • Do you have training materials for my team?
  • What is the expected implementation timeline?
  • Are there potential risks that I should know about? 
  • What are some of the biggest challenges you have seen during past implementations?
  • How well will this solution integrate with our ERP system and current processes?
  • How does this solution impact my vendors and customers?
  • What does your tech support look like if something goes wrong?
  • When can I expect to see results?
  • Do you have suggested backup plans in place in case something goes wrong?

Your implementation partner should have in-depth training materials for your team and strong answers to your questions throughout the entire implementation process. Your relationship with your implementation partner is also crucial to your accounts payable success, so if they aren’t responsive or prepared, you should consider a different provider.

Educate and Prepare Your Team and Promote Collaboration

Facing challenges will come much easier when your whole team is educated on the nuances of automation software and prepared for implementations. Some of your employees may fear losing their jobs to be replaced with AI solutions and other employees may be hesitant to change the daily tasks that they are already accustomed to. These concerns are normal and senior management should prioritize rolling out information and changes in a way that won’t cause excessive anxiety or panic among your team members.

Work with your dedicated implementation consultants to develop a management initiative that will ease the transition and promote enthusiasm for automation rather than fear. It may be tempting to move quickly with implementing your new software solution, but this isn’t the time to rush or skip steps. If your team rolls out aggressive implementation plans too quickly, you can risk pushback from employees and potential burnout.

Schedule meetings to educate and prepare the entire department. Outline the benefits of business process automation like electronic invoices, document storage, and centralized function, raise awareness of potential risks, and develop collaborative strategies to combat challenges. Take advantage of the training materials from your provider and encourage your employees to ask questions. Be patient as your employees readjust to their new responsibilities and support them throughout the transition.

Your IT team will also be crucial during this implementation phase, so prepare them properly and promote collaboration between technology experts and the administrative employees in your AP department. 

Communicate With Your Vendors

Your vendors will be among the most impressed by your AP automation software implementation when they receive faster payments, but there may be a time frame where payments are delayed as potential software conflicts arise. It’s important to make your vendors aware of your automation goals and review contractual documents and payment terms to ensure that they will still be paid on time during implementation.

Most vendors will be easy-going throughout the changes, especially if you have a strong relationship with them. However, if you have a history of late payments and missed invoices due to manual processing, your vendors may be less forgiving. In any situation, maintain consistent communication with your vendors and update them about your status in the AP Automation implementation plan. 

If you were formerly operating with paper invoices and checks by mail, then you will need to set your vendors up with direct deposit so make sure that someone in your AP department is in charge of gathering these document requirements. Once the more difficult implementation phase is complete, invoice processing will be smoother and faster with automated workflows and your vendor-employee relationships will improve significantly.

If you’re interested in beginning your digital transformation, check out our AP Automation Software from Epicor. Our reliable software suppliers are here to ease your transition and prepare your team for successful implementation.

Contact Us to get started today.

 

What Exactly Does Going Paperless Mean for my Business?

Going paperless is all the buzz for businesses today but what does that really mean? With paperless business practices and procedures, companies have cut costs, maintained stronger organizational practices, and helped save the planet.

Digital tools like Excel, Google Drive, and email have brought business a long way from the snail mail procedures of the past, but innovations haven’t stopped there. Today companies are prioritizing digital transformation so that they can streamline business processes with automation and secure cloud-based systems.

A paperless office saves revenue, declutters that filing cabinet, and keeps Mother Earth clean from paper waste. We’ve provided a list of the best ways your business can benefit from ditching those paper documents and choosing digital solutions.

Organization

Organization is one of the key benefits of a paperless office. Physical papers like paper bills, paper statements, legal documents, and tax records take up physical space and they are much harder to organize. When piles of paper mount up on desks, in drawers, or filing cabinets, it can become time-consuming and exhausting to locate that one document that you need on command.

A paper-free office can benefit from more physical space on desks and in drawers when paper copies are replaced with electronic documents. These digital files can be easily organized on your desktop through Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Digital storage is much more realistic to manage than physical storage because documents can be located and moved with the click of a button.

Digital storage is much more realistic to manage than physical storage because documents can be located and moved with the click of a button.

An efficient office is clutter-free with paperless documents that can be accessed from the comfort of your office chair. Don’t stress yourself out by sifting through mountains of paper and setting aside valuable time to constantly re-organize your office space. Paperless solutions like email were created to relieve the stress of clutter and allow documents to be easily transferred without a half-hour at the copy machine. 

Faster Processes

Important misplaced papers are also a common occurrence when businesses use paper processes. Physical paper memos, purchase orders, and invoices are likely to be lost when they are transferred through the mail or from desk to desk which slows business processes.

As we mentioned, email was created to speed up document transfer and communication, but today there are even more digital tools that allow you to ditch those current paper processes that cost you time. AP Automation fixes the invoice approval process by replacing manual processes with digital workflows that streamline the process. Automating B2B payments with AP Automation will save your staff valuable time and remove the object of common human error with data entry.

Similarly, implementing sales order automation will bring your sales order processing to a whole new speed. These digital tools use Artificial Intelligence (AI) like Intelligent Data Capture (IDC) to extract data off of documents and automatically send the data on to the next step of the procedure. These tools allow for an efficient paperless environment with faster business procedures and valuable time saved for staff members to dedicate to more pressing matters. 

Easier Collaboration

Digital file shares in place of paper files allow for easier collaboration efforts between teams and departments. Sheets of paper are difficult to collaborate on and contribute to slow company-wide initiatives.  Paperless processes can be implemented in every department to make collaboration easy and more manageable.

Google Docs is one of the best tools for co-writing and editing presentations, newsletters, and business plans but true digital transformation offers more paperless solutions like HR Automation Software. Onboarding employees can sign new hire fillable forms with digital signatures and easily send back these forms with HR Automation Software.

Electronic signatures can also be used for other business documents like B2B payments or contracts. These paperless solutions are effective strategies for easier communication and collaboration that save time and stress.

Security

A paperless workplace can also benefit from increased security. Important paper documents are a liability as they can be easily lost, misplaced, thrown out, or stolen. Electronic documents can be backed up with cloud-based storage software to avoid losing or misplacing the file. Electronic documents and digital files can also be locked with encryption, passwords, and safeguards that restrict access. 

Your business documents may be top-secret or contain classified information that the average employee should not have access to. By encrypting your digital documents, zipping files, and restricting access your company can protect against security breaches that put your business at risk.

Cost Savings

One of the myths of digital transformation is that it is too expensive when in reality, a paperless office will provide significant cost savings and return on investment. Research shows that American corporations spend $120 million on printed forms that become outdated within only three months.

The costs of paper, ink cartridges, and paper-based systems like printers and copiers, lose valuable revenue on top of wasting time with constant maintenance. A paperless work environment is much more cost-efficient and document management software like Enterprise Content Management (ECM) drives ROI by expanding the value of a single technology implementation.

Digital transformation is worth the upfront cost because these digital tools and software provide lasting cost savings while speeding up business processes which will increase revenue.

Save Our Planet

It’s no secret that our planet has taken a hit from our inconsiderate paper usage and paper waste. Research shows the average office employee uses about 10,000 pieces of paper a year and paper contributes to 50% of office waste that ends up in landfills. Think about those file cabinets that you have cleaned out at the end of the year for the daily useless piece of paper that ends up in the trash.

Research shows the average office employee uses about 10,000 pieces of paper a year and paper contributes to 50% of office waste that ends up in landfills. 

We have a responsibility to save our planet and decrease our paper consumption. Recycling is a great practice, but digital transformation is the paperless strategy that most effectively cuts down on waste. It’s time for your company to set paperless goals and get started on your mission to save the trees.

Automation software and Enterprise Content Management software will benefit every aspect of your business processes. Contact us today to get organized and begin your company’s digital transformation.

How To Measure AP Performance

Data is one of the driving forces in the success and efficiency of businesses today. When it comes to your company’s accounts payable (AP) performance, data measuring and tracking are key components to your overall productivity and financial growth.

In the digital age, more and more businesses are moving to paperless processes and technology software that tracks key performance indicators (KPIs). By measuring your AP performance with these KPIs, your business can speed up processes, cut down on losses, and improve efficiency.

Why Measure AP Performance?

If you’re asking why your company should measure your AP performance the answer is simple: if you can measure it then you can improve it.

Today’s world is all about improving and increasing efficiency. Your company may be losing valuable time, money, and resources by failing to accurately track and measure your AP performance.

The future of accounts payable is AP automation for this exact reason. AP automation removes the object of human error that comes with manual invoice processing and offers the luxury of tracking and measuring KPIs that will benefit your business.

Measuring your AP performance is the first step in increasing efficiency and smoothing the daily processes of your company, but what KPI should you be tracking? 

These four KPIs will help you analyze and evaluate your AP department’s efficiency so you can adjust and improve.

Average Number of Invoices

To measure other AP KPIs you must first begin by tracking the number of invoices received in a given time period. The time period may vary depending on the size of your company and the volume of invoices that run through your AP department.

If you see a significant number of invoices per day then it may be best to measure per day but you can also measure by week, month, or year depending on the sheer volume of invoices that your company sees and your AP efficiency goals. Once you determine your time value of measurement, you can use that daily or annual invoice volume to track the number of invoices received in relation to the number of invoices processed. 

Average Invoice Processing Time

The average invoice processing time is a metric that should always be tracked when it comes to AP. Especially if your company is still manually processing invoices with an AP team, the invoice cycle times are a KPI that should be put at priority.

If your average invoice processing time is longer than 14 business days, then your team may need to reevaluate the speed of your approval steps and productivity rates. Once you measure the average time it takes to process an invoice, you can identify potential bottlenecks in the process.

Your company’s invoice processing time may be slowed when key employees that are required in the approval process are out of the office. AP automation fixes the approval process with tools like on-the-go invoice approval features through mobile access that significantly speeds up the processing time to only two to three days.

The payable department may also be slowed down with mere manual data entry that may be taking longer than expected. Once you measure the average time it takes to process an invoice, management can reassess department productivity and evaluate if an AP automation software will be the remedy to increase timely payments.

Average Invoice Processing Time versus Average Invoices Received

Remember that time measurement that we talked about early? Take that period of time that you chose for your company (per day, per month, etc) and compare the number of invoices processed in that time period to the number of invoices received.

By tracking this KPI, you can accurately measure your AP efficiency. You should be aiming to process as many invoices as the volume that you receive within that month. If your company’s number of invoices processed in the given period is significantly lower than the number of invoices received, then it’s time to re-evaluate.

Look for areas to increase the speed of your invoicing process and then track your AP processing performance over time to see which process efficiency practices are working.

Average Cost per Invoice

The average cost per invoice is a crucial KPI to track and measure when it comes to APs. Many companies are shocked to see just how much they are losing in profit margins when they evaluate cost metrics.

APs can have significant hidden costs due to operational costs like staff salaries, managerial overhead, software costs, printing fees, and hardware expenses. Organizations may be paying anywhere from $15 to $40 per invoice, but with the simple technology implementation of AP automation, costs per invoice can be reduced to only $2. 

Beyond just operating costs, human error in the manual entry may lead to bad payments, duplicate payments, late payment penalties, and unclaimed discounts that add up. Within the broader KPI of average cost per invoice, you can increase your efficiency metric measures by tracking specific costs like the average number of wrong payments and the volume of discounts missed.

By specifying these areas of costs, you can improve AP efficiency tracking and narrow down the problem areas that need improvement. For example, if the percentage of invoice costs is the highest in the category of duplicate payments, then you should reevaluate how you review new invoices in comparison to those that were already paid.

Once you measure your company’s average cost per invoice, you can implement strategic tasks to reduce losses or consider adopting AP automation software. Cost savings is one of the most common reasons companies automate B2B payments.

The software can also track these KPIs for you so that all you are left to do is analyze the data and do some organizational restructuring according to the areas that need improvement. Electronic invoices through AP automation software also increase the accuracy of invoices and prevent erroneous payments by scanning the document to ensure that it isn’t a duplicate invoice. 

AP automation delivers speedy and accurate payments by trimming down the slow manual steps in physical review tasks that human processing relies on. Advancements in technology have simply accelerated our business processes and it’s time to take advantage of it.

To accurately measure your company’s APs, speed up your invoice processing cycles, and reduce invoice costs, check out our AP Automation Software and Contact Us today to get started.

How AP Automation Fixes the Invoice Approval Process

Paying for services/products after they have been delivered allows businesses to save large amounts of money while establishing trust between vendors. Not paying accounts on time results in bad credit for the business, while early payment often results in good credit and percentage discounts on future orders. This places a tremendous amount of responsibility on the accounts payable division.

The accounts payable process can be a relatively simple, straightforward process, but unfortunately, there are many common mistakes and complications that take place along the way. Human error, high processing costs, long invoice processing time, lack of visibility into accounts payable or cash flow, and regulatory compliance issues are some of the biggest problems facing manual AP processing. This article will first explain the manual AP process and then explain how AP digital transformation can help fix all of the aforementioned issues. 

Manual Processes

The AP process can be broken down into four distinct steps: 

  1. Receive Invoice


    Once the product is delivered or the service is finished, an invoice is produced which details the specifics of the product or service, as well as an itemized breakdown of the costs and charges. The invoice is either hand delivered by a representative of the vendor, mailed, or a pdf is sent via email. The information is then entered manually into the computer or ledger by a clerk or receptionist.

    The risk for error here is obvious. The employee could enter the wrong information, not enter it in a timely manner, or forget to enter the invoice altogether. All simple mistakes that could be easily fixed by AP automation.

  2. Copy and File Invoice

    With paper documents, the invoice is copied and filed into whatever filing system your company uses. With electronic invoices,  the invoice is scanned and filed away into the computer. This is done as a type of backup system to ensure that any future issues or discrepancies can be dealt with.

    The problem is that this still requires attention to detail as well as storage space on your hardware system or physical storage space in your business in the way of metal filing cabinets. The majority of business is done electronically so having a paper filing system is very outdated.

  3. Invoice Approval Process

    Invoice approval is a responsibility only given to a very small number of employees – usually only one or two. Paper-based companies have the receptionist or clerk hand deliver the invoice to whoever is approved to sign it. If that person is not in the office, then the invoice is left in a mailbox or on their desk. It is not uncommon for the invoice to get lost along the way, delivered to the wrong person, or simply forgotten by the recipient. If electronic, the invoice is sent to the signer to approve and send back. The emails are sometimes lost, ignored, accidentally deleted, or forgotten.

    When these simple errors occur, payment is not given to the vendor on time, resulting in late payment fees, penalties, bad credit, and damaged buyer-vender relationships. Ultimately, financial loss is the final result.

  4. Invoice Management and Payment


    After the correct person approves the invoice, it then has to be paid to the vendor. Unfortunately, the employee who approves the invoice is not typically the same person who pays it. This is done by a different person such as a corporate officer or accounting department.

    As mentioned before, this additional step takes time and effort, further opening the door for potential mistakes and human error. Paper gets lost or filed incorrectly, and emails get ignored or deleted mistakenly. 

As we can see in the steps outlined above, manual AP involves three separate departments with three different employees to ensure that an account is paid correctly and on time. In today’s world of digital technology, this lengthy and error-prone process should be obsolete.

Read more about IT Automation Trends in 2021

AP Invoice Automation

AP automation software gives you a single platform from which to handle all steps of the AP process from receiving to payment and everything in between. The software is designed to detect any mistakes, and vendor information is stored for future use. Furthermore, the purchase order is digitally matched to the invoice to detect any mistakes in the same way a human would, only the software will not make any simple clerical errors. The program will then send the payment to the correct, designated person for approval. There are no emails to verify and no paper slips waiting in the mailbox. Everything is all done in one centralized location which maximizes efficiency, time, and money.

The system can also prevent overpayment by using digital purchase orders that match the payment to the invoice, ultimately saving time and money. An accidental overpayment can take weeks, sometimes months to rectify, if it is even noticed at all. Businesses lose thousands of dollars without even realizing it through overpayment of invoices.

A few other benefits of AP automation include increased credit score, reduced financial fraud, and improved vendor relationships. By paying invoices on-time, sometimes even early, your business’ credit score will increase, thus opening the business up to future discounts as well as extended payment time. Not only that, but the relationship with the vendor will strengthen as they learn they can trust your business to deliver payment in a timely manner on a consistent basis. 

Fraud occurs through false billing, bad checks, overpayment, and wrongful data entry. AP automation corrects these mistakes by adhering to budgets set by administrators and automatically approving invoices without the need for a manual signature. The system also leaves an electronic audit record for accounting teams to utilize as well as future auditors, should the need arise. 

Digital Transformation Consulting

Perhaps the greatest benefit of all regarding AP transformation is increased profitability! When the AP process is handled through automation software, bills are paid on time and you ultimately take advantage of improved credit discounts, as well as early payment incentives. You also avoid late payment charges and canceled orders. AP automation also requires fewer workers and offers time savings as the software system itself replaces many roles traditionally held by lower-level employees, thus saving money on payroll. 

Are you interested in learning more? Contact us today to get the AP automation process started!

The Future of Accounts Payable

Evolving your company and keeping up with the constant rollout of new technologies and new ways to handle traditional tasks can help streamline your operations while helping you focus on the core of your business.

More and more organizations are adopting paperless solutions every year because the value of having electronically organized information at the ready, anywhere you are, is a convenience and time-saver that can’t be ignored.

One of these solutions is Accounts Payable Automation. Even if your business has been running like a well-oiled machine when it comes to having your finance operations covered, it only takes a day for a situation to arise where a wrench is thrown into your cogs to throw things off and the prior way of doing things suddenly becomes more of a hurdle.

Today we will be discussing the benefits of Accounts Payable Automation and why it is worth taking a deeper look into this evolved payment solution. If you would like to stick around, we would appreciate your time and take a deeper look into this ever-growing method of managing your finances.

AP Trends and Changes

These days, we have a host of software and services available that simply were not there 15 years ago, and this is important because it means businesses have the luxury of deciding how they can streamline and make their operations more efficient. And with remote work being so common for obvious reasons in recent history, these services are more important than ever.

AP (Accounts Payable) Automation has been one of these solutions and has been constantly evolving and helping businesses manage their finances while being the most accessible it has ever been.

Because of this, it is making it more viable for organizations to look into their future and decide how they want to improve their financial operations.

Improving Back-office Operations

While customer-focused processes are often prioritized, back-office operations have been better supported as the years gone by. The truth is that more businesses are starting up and are relying on the help of software that can assist them towards a successful future.

However, even if you run an established business, you can still highly benefit from looking into AP automation.

Is AP Automation Right for Your Organization?

There are certain patterns and cues that can tell if your business is right for AP Automation. While choosing to forgo AP Automation may not be a do-or-die situation, it can take a burden off of your organization if there are things that indicate that there would be benefits to looking into new accounts payable trends and reevaluating the situation.

Change can seem difficult when you’ve been running things “well enough” for a long time, suddenly making such a major switch overnight may be daunting, but eventually, some things can be highly beneficial in the long run.

If you are processing 500 or more invoices in a month, and have more than 2 full-time AP clerks, AP Automation is certainly worth consideration. It will save you time and money by streamlining the entire process of manually pouring over payment information. Additionally, if you are outsourcing your AP or processing your invoices in multiple locations, you can also highly benefit from AP Automation.

Lastly, if you find yourself struggling with late payments, have data entry errors, and missing out on early payment benefits, then AP Automation is a viable solution for your organization and is worth your consideration.

Think of it as having one person filling 100 buckets of water vs an automated machine doing it in one fell swoop. Automation in general has become a core part of society to make things more efficient overall.

Overall, this is a topic that can be healthy to have a sit down discussion with your team regarding the future of your organization.

Making the Switch: Integrating Cloud-Based AP Automation

African American man in suit with face mask on

The coronavirus pandemic has presented unique workforce challenges in industries ranging from supply chain to fast food. In its wake, an increased necessity for secure, cloud-based document systems has also become evident. It is especially true of accounts payable departments who work remotely to ensure their team is safe while assuring the company’s creditors and suppliers get compensated on time.

Transitioning your company’s financial records from their locked file cabinets to electronic files can be quite the task, but your team does not have to do it alone. A systems integrator, like the paperless guys at Mosaic, can help put your AP documents at your fingertips with accuracy and transparency. But how do you objectively determine the best integration resource for your project? As with choosing any vendor, we recommend completing a full vendor analysis.

Understanding Your Scope of Work

To begin your search for the most appropriate integrator, you are encouraged to first be clear on your scope of automation. Know what you want to accomplish, when you need it taken care of, and how the integration will affect your teams. It’s also not a bad idea to reference your standard operating practices when unraveling your project’s scope. 

Be sure to outline your payable processes in steps as well as your accounting department’s invoice management and approval processes. Also, include any known pain-points to be addressed during this integration.

Let’s consider this the discovery process, during which you may also seek to develop a project timeline that could be adjusted in real-time. Accounting for system upgrades and human error will afford you additional time to implement the automation software you choose. Taking adequate time to define the scope of work and implementation process expectation before vendor selection could help eliminate costly mistakes later in the process.

Software automation process spelled out on wooden blocks

Selecting an Integrator

Getting the most out of your accounts payable automation software solution is critical to your company’s bottom line. Selecting the integrator who best fits your needs will help provide the framework to improve your organization’s expense-to-revenue. Once you’ve identified the scope of your integration process, research your vendor’s entire organization. Peruse their website for positive results. Pay close attention to customer success stories. Do not hesitate to reach out to other customers about the potential vendor’s professional services. To inquire about an integrator’s business and viability, our recommended questions include, but are not limited to the following:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you have licensed engineers on staff?
  • What is your process for hiring and equipping new engineers as veteran engineers retire?
  • How will the integrator learn your business?

Deciphering the AP Automation Process

“Accounts Payable automation (AP Automation) refers to the technology used to streamline and automate accounts payable processes, removing manual tasks, and providing better visibility and control over important financial data.”

The Institute of Financial Management reports that 73 percent of organizations used AP automated software in 2020. Whether you use Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, Infor, Syspro, SAP, or any other ERP system, a viable accounts payable automation software should make it easier to retrieve data for reporting, reviewing invoices and purchase orders, and immediately knowing your company’s cash flow. AP automation tools synergistically improve invoice processing and the overall workflow of the accounts payable department.

Incorporating AP automation software is an ideal solution for circumventing common issues with manual accounts payable processes. Now’s the perfect time to switch if your company:

  • Processes 500 or more invoices per month.
  • Has more than 2 full-time AP clerks
  • Outsources your AP
  • Has too many late payment penalties
  • Misses early payment discounts

Take a look at our recent blog posts for more on the benefits of AP automation.

Stacks of paper in filing folders

Mosaic Can Help with Integration

Our accounts payable tools can help free up your team, and a path for you to continue growing your business. Together, we can facilitate business optimizations that yield results your entire company will feel. Our DocStar solution integrates with accounting software to: 

  • Stimulate productivity through intelligent automated capture of invoice data
  • Capture early payment discounts
  • Automate your company’s AP approval process
  • Reduce accounts payable processing labor costs
  • Securely store electronic versions of your company’s financial documents

Why You Should Tour our DocStar Tools

Give your accounting department a break! Decide to automate your AP solutions and allow your accounting systems to do the heavy lifting. Your team’s day-to-day objectives will shift, giving way to the capacity for more revenue-generating activities that your current process may not have room for. 

Accounts payable automation solutions with paperless invoice processing are critical in transforming your AP Department. Take a tour of our DocStar automation software to see how the integration of our software can make your team and stakeholders happy.

Start your journey to AP automation with us today.

What is AP Automation?

Accounts Payable is a crucial arm of any successful organization. Managing outgoing expenses and vendor and supplier partnerships is not an easy task, and without an effective process in place, things can slip through the cracks.

The way the industry is moving, it’s no longer a question of if your organization will automate with invoice processing software solutions, it’s a question of when and how. To further understand the necessity of automating accounts payable, we’ll look at the technical definition, specific use cases, and how you can implement AP automation at your business.

Defining AP Automation

In technical terms, Accounts Payable automation (AP Automation) refers to the invoice software solutions used to streamline and automate Accounts Payable processes, removing manual tasks and providing better visibility and control over important financial data.

AP Automation isn’t just one piece of software you install on your computer, it’s a set of connected tools that work as one unified solution to simplify your organization’s processes.

These tools can include:

Using manual methods, the average invoice takes about two weeks to process and requires approval from two to five people before it is fully processed. If your organization is processing hundreds of invoices monthly, relying on manual payment processing is simply inefficient. In a 2021 study on AP automation by the Ardent Group, best-in-class companies process invoices 74% faster with invoice processing software than companies that process paper invoices with manual processes.

By implementing AP Automation, your organization can take advantage of these key benefits:

  • Decrease invoice processing costs
  • Decrease invoice processing time
  • Capture more early payment discounts
  • Avoid late payment penalties and interest
  • Improve visibility over cash flow and liabilities

Cost-Savings With Invoice Processing Software

Manually processing an invoice tends to vary in cost. Some organizations with relatively streamlined processes may pay as low as $15 per invoice, while others may pay upwards of $40 per invoice. These hefty costs account for labor, software systems, outsourcing, overhead costs, and other miscellaneous expenses.

Unfortunately, with manual processing comes human error. With each error made, your organization is faced with overpayments, duplicate payments, unused credit notes, and unclaimed discounts which ultimately drive costs up as well. Just a few mistakes over time can quickly cost your organization thousands of dollars.

With invoice automation, the cost can be reduced to as low as $2 per invoice. Invoice processing automation uses Intelligent Data Capture (IDC) for speedy and accurate invoice data extraction. Built-in workflows in Accounts Payable Automation software moves invoices along quicker than accounts staff and it eliminates the error-prone manual data entry (or any mishaps that may happen in the office). It’s more efficient, which means it works quicker, which means it can save both resources and money over time. The more efficient the system, the greater the cost savings.

How do I know if I should implement AP Automation?

Every organization is different in terms of need, ability, timeline, and budget to automate its current payable process. Having executed hundreds of AP Automation projects, we’ve noticed patterns among our most successful deployments. If the following problems apply to your organization, you’re a perfect candidate for AP automation:

  • You process 500 or more invoices per month.
  • You have more than 2 full-time AP clerks.
  • You are outsourcing your Accounts Payable.
  • You face too many late payment penalties.
  • You are missing out on early payment discounts.
  • Your invoices are processed in more than one location.
  • You see many entry errors in your manual data entry procedures.
  • Misplaced invoices and other documents take up to much time.
  • Your company struggles with a lack of visibility into cash flow.

More often than not, most organizations need an invoice solution and don’t realize it. Their current state of managing their financial processes is “good enough” so they’re resistant to change. These organizations are missing a huge opportunity with the company growth and cost savings that come along with implementing invoice automation software.

Why Implement AP Automation?

Beyond the clear cost incentives, AP Automation is a solution you can easily implement now to help your organization succeed long term. Businesses must prioritize digital transformation to keep up with the competition and meet the expectations of vendors. A manual invoicing process simply won’t cut it as more and more companies digitize and automate processes.

By implementing invoice processing software in your Accounts Payable department you can also see these key benefits:

  • Reduce the time required to process invoices
  • Eliminate the slow manual processes associated with routing, approving, and GL coding invoices.
  • Process invoices faster and more accurately, reducing payment errors and capturing cost discounts.
  • Reduced paper usage and improved operational efficiency.
  • Better data visibility into cash flow and invoice cycle times.
  • Real-time access across your organization.
  • Streamline vendor invoice processing and manage discounts to improve cash flow.
  • Free finance teams from repetitive processes so they can be productive in other areas.
  • Ensure record retention compliance and keep documents safe and secure with digital invoices.
  • Say goodbye to over-stuffed filing cabinets.
  • Saves headaches come audit time – have peace of mind that you will find documents you need.

How to implement Invoice Automation

As previously mentioned, AP Automation isn’t software you can simply download and install. There are many moving parts to an effective system, but by working with a partner that can design an invoice processing solution that fits your exact needs, moving to a fully automated process becomes so much simpler.

Mosaic has vast experience in implementing smart automation solutions, and we constantly evolve to offer innovative solutions to transform our clients’ business processes.

Contact Us to discuss your current AP process and learn how we can help transform your business. 

 

The Future of Accounts Payable

Focusing on the future of your business is always important, especially during times of change or uncertainty. When you’re faced with circumstances you can’t control, you should focus on things that you can. Evaluating your current processes and determining if they’ll be sustainable long-term is one of the best things you can focus on at any time, but especially right now. One process that is often overlooked due to misconceived notions that it’s working “well enough,” is Accounts Payable. After all, it can be a department where it’s difficult to see problems until they’re too big to handle. If your invoices are usually paid on time and you haven’t had any major problems, then seeing the value of investing in a solution to automate your current process may require a deeper look. 

Understanding what the future of accounts payable looks like as a whole can help influence your decision to focus on accounts payable within your organization right now. We’ll walk through some insights and trends that are guiding the future of accounting, and share how we can help implement this investment.

Mosaic’s partner, DocStar partly sponsored a report from Levvel Research reviewing insights from 2019 and predicting what the future of accounts payable might look like. 

What they found

Solutions are becoming more accessible.

The market looks much different now than it has in the past. With more and more software options available, businesses of all sizes and industries now have access to the same resources that were previously only available to enterprise accounts. The solutions on the market today are more widely available, more cost-effective, and more flexible. Businesses can choose what they want their deployment model to look like and can customize it to be on-premise or in the cloud. 

Back-office operations are being better supported.

Customer-facing processes typically are the focus for most technology initiatives, which can benefit an organization’s overall success but doesn’t solve key issues. Companies are recognizing that investing in technology for back-office operations can benefit financial and operational health just as much as targeting customer-facing initiatives. These processes in the past were typically put on the back burner to focus on front-facing efforts, under the guise that back-office processes didn’t have as much of an impact. For many of those processes, specifically Accounts Payable, their success carries much of the organization’s success. Businesses are realizing this, and are investing accordingly to focus on their company’s overall wellbeing vs. simply looking good on the surface.  

Scalability is key.

Simple, single-point solutions are no longer effective for businesses in today’s environment. Businesses are seeking out solutions that can scale and transform entire departments rather than a single pain point. Automation within Accounts Payable can be utilized to enable scalable growth. This creates a competitive advantage and can help companies leverage their AP Automation investment across different areas of their business, including Human Resources and sales, further helping organizations gain a competitive advantage and succeed long term.

How to tell if AP Automation is right for your organization

While there’s no checklist of the exact qualifications a good AP Automation candidate has, there are patterns among organizations that indicate whether or not they can benefit from an AP overhaul. More often than not, organizations that need a solution the most don’t realize it. Their current state of managing their processes is “good enough” so they’re resistant to change, but they don’t realize how many small issues are adding up to create a much larger problem. 

Some key indicators include processing 500 or more invoices per month with more than 2 full-time AP clerks, or if you’re outsourcing your AP or are processing invoices in more than one location. If your organization is finding itself saddled with late payment penalties and are missing out on early payment discounts, have manual data entry errors, misplaced invoices and other documents, and a lack of visibility of your cash flow, that’s also a crucial indicator of your organization’s need.

Even if you don’t hit all of the checkmarks, your organization may still be a good candidate for AP Automation. Making the decision to transform your current process isn’t one that should be made lightly, but it is also one that comes with little risk and high reward. By working with a partner who has seen projects of all types be successfully deployed, you can feel even more confident in your decision.

How Mosaic can help

We’ve deployed a wide range of AP Automation projects, and understand the individual needs of organizations and departments. We can work with you to assess your needs and determine the process that will work best for you. Give us a call at 1-800-387-7859 to discuss your current process and how our solutions can simplify it.