Facing Challenges in AP Automation
It’s no secret that AP automation gives your company a leg up in the modern business world. Automating AP saves money, reduces errors, and gives you increased control over cash-flow.
But as a recent article from PYMNTS.com points out, fully automating your AP process doesn’t always go as smoothly as you’d like. What’s your organization to do when facing problems as you begin automating the AP department? And if you haven’t yet started automating, should articles like this make you re-think switching to an automated system?
Understanding Automated Systems
The most common problems with automated systems arise when they’re fed inaccurate or contradictory data. If the data doesn’t match what the system is expecting or the system finds errors it can’t automatically reconcile, then someone has to step in and fix things manually.
Exceptions aren’t caused by a problem in the automated AP system. The software’s design means it only processes invoices that fit your custom parameters. It’s working perfectly when it calls attention to invoices that don’t fit your tolerances for automatic processing. You just have to give it more accurate data to work with.
Fixing Data Errors
If you’re getting a high percentage of exception invoices, there are a few steps you can take. First, work on standardizing your automation process and refining your business rules. You need a system (like NextProcess’s software) that can match purchase orders to invoices accurately and quickly.
Next, switch to receiving as many electronic invoices as possible and make sure the paper invoices are scanned accurately. NextProcess’ proprietary data capture technology, for example, ensures over 99% accuracy on every invoice. But not all errors are your company’s fault. To correct error coming from outside your company, you’ll need to work with your vendors.
Dealing With Vendors
Most automated systems can’t check purchase orders or invoices line by line. If there’s a pricing discrepancy or a different product number shows up, the automatic system routes the invoice for manual fact-checking and approval. This often means contacting vendors directly to work out why prices, product numbers, or amounts don’t match.
NextProcess’s AP automation software sets up a vendor’s portal so vendors get controlled access to your processing platform. They’ll be able to check the status of their invoices and submit missing information. It won’t entirely eliminate the need to check in with vendors to handle discrepancies, but it’s a start.
Automating the AP department fully won’t happen overnight, but that’s no reason to ignore automation’s advantages. You’d still be dealing with problems caused by inaccurate data if you stayed with a manual paper-based system. But the challenges are much easier to tackle using automation software. Get in touch with us for a demonstration of exactly how our automation software can help you simplify your AP processing.