This Is What You Need To Know About Your Data Capture Options For Accounts Payable
One challenge facing accounts payable today is that you receive so many different types of invoices. Some arrive on paper with your orders while others arrive as faxes from your suppliers. Some come attached to emails, and others arrive in electronic formats such as EDI (Electronic Data Interchange).
The wide variety of file formats becomes a problem when you start trying to process all the different types of invoices. You’ve got two options at that point: either process each type of invoice differently or figure out how to process them all the same way.
The first option is a recipe for disaster, so you need a way to standardize your invoice processing. Preferably without too much extra work. That means finding a way to capture the data from different invoice sources and get it all into one system. You have two main options: manual and electronic data capture.
Option One: Manual Data Capture
Keeping your accounts payable department manual limits your data capture options. You’ll have to enter information into your electronic records by hand for invoices that arrive as paper, fax, or emailed PDFs.
No matter how careful your employees are, transferring information into a system by hand is going to generate errors. It only takes one mistyped number or an out-of-place decimal point to introduce significant errors to your records. That’s one reason Excel spreadsheets are notoriously error-riddled. There’s just no way to eliminate human error.
Even if you take the extra time to have multiple people fact-check every invoice some errors will still creep in. In addition, manual data entry is time-consuming and often tedious. If you’re using manual data entry in AP and see high processing costs and slow turnaround times, there’s a good chance your data entry is what’s slowing things down.
Option Two: Electronic Data Capture
Electronic data capture options give you a lot more freedom to customize and improve your AP system. The best data capture system for AP will be able to work with many different types of invoices, capture the data electronically, and automatically enter it into your accounts payable system.
Optical character recognition (OCR) technology turns print text into digital files. It’s a huge improvement over image capture since it creates a searchable text file rather than scanning an image of your invoices. Pair this technology with document indexing, and you’ll have a wealth of usable electronic data. OCR plus indexing creates a searchable index of all the information in the original document (text, barcodes, etc.) and metadata related to document submission (date received, user who submitted, etc.).
Making Data Capture Work for You
You’ll find it much easier to get all your information into one system if you’re using accurate data capture technology connected with your AP processing system. By implementing accounts payable business process automation (BPA) coupled with data capture technology, you’ll make the entire AP process much more simple, efficient, and cost-effective.
Ideally, this type of system will scan paper invoices and recognize key fields to capture and index all the relevant information. It’ll also streamline multiple types of electronic information so you can process all invoices the same way. Then, your AP processing system should use that digital information to process all invoices according to your custom tolerances.
Another benefit to going digital with your data capture is that you’ll also be digitizing all your records. OCR and image indexing put your invoice data into a form that’s easy to search. You’ll have a much easier time running reports, looking up specific invoices, and handling audits with digital data than in a manual, paper-based system.
Improving Accounts Payable Processing with Automation
Clearly, electronic data capture has advantages over manual data entry. To get the most out of these advantages, you’ll also want to automate your AP processing. Automating your accounts payable with a software as a service (SaaS) provider makes digitizing your AP process simple.
When using NextProcess for your AP automation software, our proprietary data capture technology ensures more than 99% accurate digital data capture and indexing. The system can auto-process up to 90% of your invoices and increase productivity by 500%, saving your company both time and money.
Our SaaS model and excellent customer service make implementing our AP software and integrating it with your existing ERPs easy for your company. We have a near-perfect implementation rate, and we’re committed to making sure you’re happy with how your new AP system is capturing information, processing your invoices, and storing your data. You’ll be able to customize the software to fit your needs. You also have the option to add other software modules to streamline and automate payments, purchasing, capital projects, and more. Contact us today to get started with reliable AP automation software.