How to Optimize AP Visibility Using Automation Software
Though some businesses still process invoices manually, more and more enterprise companies have automated their Accounts Payable departments. That does not, however, always mean that those companies have optimized their AP as well as they could. Clunky, outdated automation can decrease visibility into accounts payable and bog down business processes.
One of the more frustrating things about trying to automate business processes is that automation can be extremely limited. Accounts Payable automation is often built around existing ERPs, which were never designed to handle things like accounts payable or procurement automation. And if the automation system is a few years old, turnover in IT might mean that the people who understand the system aren’t with the company anymore. This type of AP automation is often expensive, difficult to use, and difficult to maintain.
The good news is, there’s a simple way to upgrade AP automation that’s much more streamlined than the in-house solutions innovated before the arrival of new technology such as AI, machine learning, and big data. While changing to a new automated SP system can seem daunting, modern accounts payable software brings a wide range of benefits to the company. One benefit is increased AP visibility, both within the AP department and for management. Having all your invoices quickly processed in one, easily accessible place eliminates paperwork, cuts back on hassle, and benefits the whole financial department.
Modern AP Automation
It might sound too good to be true that NextProcess’s AP automation is faster, simpler, and less expensive than manual or ERP-based AP departments, but our software delivers functionality that will dramatically improve AP processing. Before we see how automation can optimize AP visibility in your company, let’s take a quick look at how our accounts payable automation works.
Our cloud-based automation is simple to implement. Implementation only takes 60 to 90 days, and your new AP system will be fully set up in 3 to 4 months. We work with you through every step of this process to deliver fully customized accounts payable processing. We even take care of ongoing updates for you, placing no additional burden on your IT department. The result is a fast, accurate system that adapts to your needs.
Compared to a manual system, our software saves companies an average of $14.93 per invoice. It also reduces the average cycle time to just 5.4 days, and the system typically processes PO invoices within 12 hours. The system can auto-process up to 90% of your invoices and also makes it simple for your employees to handle exceptions invoices. For more information on how our automated system would work in your company, check out the article “What Does Workflow Automation Actually Look Like In The Accounts Payable Department?”
The Question of Visibility
What would you need to do to check on the status of an invoice at your company? Would it involve tracking down paper records in a file room? Sifting through Excel files? How long would it take? Would it be harder to look up an invoice that just arrived, one that is currently being processed, or one that has been approved and paid?
If you have trouble checking on the status of invoices quickly, then you have limited visibility into your AP processing. When it’s difficult and time-consuming to check on the status of invoices, it’s also challenging to make sure you submit payments before deadlines. Limited visibility makes it difficult to double-check invoices against purchase orders, look up past invoices, or answer questions about when a specific invoice will be processed. There are several ways that AP automation can help solve these problems by giving you better visibility and increased control over AP processing.
Utilizing a system like NextProcess’s AP Automation software makes it possible to process all types of invoices the same way and in the same place. Instead of sending invoices to several different employees or field offices, they all go directly to the AP software for automatic processing. Our system quickly and accurately captures all of an invoice’s data, whether it arrives in a digital form or on paper. Then, it inputs that data to the automation software for processing.
In a manual accounts payable department, you’d process different types of invoices in different ways. This makes it harder to see all the invoices at once. In contrast, our AP software collects paper, EDI, email, fax, and every other invoice format in one central, digital location that anyone with clearance can access. This makes it much easier to see all of your invoices in one place. It also makes it easy to quickly check on the status of any invoice.
Centralized invoice processing keeps invoices from getting lost in the shuffle of papers. It also speeds up processing, approvals, and payments. This keeps your suppliers happy because you can pay on time. It also saves AP employees the frustration and time involved in looking for unpaid invoices and rushing invoice processing.
NextProcess’s AP automation software reduces the number of touchpoints that each invoice goes through as they’re processed. The system automatically GL-codes invoices and routes them for electronic approval. You can program the software to keep things moving quickly by sending multiple approval reminders or escalation emails to anyone who hasn’t yet provided invoice approval. Throughout the entire process, all the invoices are visible and easy to access.
If you can’t access the data from your accounts payable department, that data is useless. Invoices need to be visible at the end of accounting periods or your company risks underestimating expenses and overstating income. Having all the invoices easily accessible also gives you a strong audit trail. It also provides management with the tools they need to find and deal with potential problems early.
With NextProcess accounts payable automation software, you have access to permanent online data and image storage. Our software sets up a centralized document repository for your company that puts every single invoice right at your fingertips. Anyone with access privileges can access the information from a computer, tablet, or smartphone. A variety of search criteria makes finding and downloading the right invoices easy.
Whether you’re automating for the first time or replacing an outdated system, NextProcess’s AP automation is a fantastic solution for your business. Contact us today to learn more and schedule a free demonstration.