Harnessing Metadata in AP Automation
Accounts Payable automation software has been spreading all over the country and helping businesses improve their practices and save money across the board. Combining digitization and data entry is the ideal way to maximize the data available while making your processes more efficient. But the benefits don’t have to stop there. With your invoice metadata keyed and stored in a database, it’s never been easier to report on important intersection points of information. Here are four ways to harness the power of metadata in AP automation and bring your process improvement to the next level:
Identify Possible Oddities
Vendors don’t typically have bad intentions—you wouldn’t do business with a company that didn’t seem to be working ethically. But any time humans are involved, there’s a possibility of mistakes. One company told the story of a vendor they had who submitted invoices frequently—more than once a week. They were paying out regularly and things were running according to plan. It wasn’t until someone went into the AP automation software and generated a report that they noticed something strange. Every invoice number appeared twice—once with a dash and once without. They were able to implement a comparison rule that saved them thousands of dollars in its first month of deployment. Having easy access to reporting and agile software allowed them to quickly and easily resolve issues that popped up in the department.
Purchase Order Optimization
Purchasing policies are often implemented and forgotten, which can present significant challenges to managing cash flow effectively. Using POs is a must for inventory control and has been an increasingly common practice to control spending across varying industries. There is a balance to the amount of work done by Purchasing and Accounts Payable to ensure an invoice is valid. Having a high-level overview of how POs are being used across the company can empower you to make smarter decisions long term and adjust or eliminate policies that are hindering your progress.
Keep Bad Practices Away
Exceptions often happen when no one is looking. One or two exceptions may be a necessity but many AP departments struggle with much larger exception practices that take up too much time. A lot of these issues could be resolved through communication with the vendor or the buyer to ensure that the right information is available at the time of invoicing. However they happen, it’s important to keep a tight handle on exceptions to maximize the department’s efficiency. Better transparency into the AP workflow will help you keep a firm grasp on invoice processing and keep issues isolated.
The potential of metadata is limitless for business process improvement. Having digitized data entry as a part of your AP automation software gives you access to a previously untapped wealth of information. Finding a good software partner is an important part of the success of any AP process improvement project. Contact NextProcess today to see if we can find the right fit for your ongoing accounts payable problems.