Accounts payable managers have been struggling to go paperless for over 30 years. Today, as businesses are facing the challenges of remote work, supply chain disruption and cash flow uncertainties as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, this task has become a top priority. In fact, moving to a digital, remote accounts payable process is an important step of many businesses’ continuity plans these days.
Even in a normal work situation, a manual and paper-based accounts payable process means AP staff spend valuable time copying, distributing, searching for and filing paper invoices instead of focusing on more valuable, relevant and rewarding activities. The answer to both the everyday challenges and the extraordinary circumstances we’re facing today is a cloud-based AP automation solution that can help businesses introduce a fully digital process enabling staff to approve invoices remotely while working from home.
Getting started with remote accounts payable
Today, there are several cloud-based AP automation solutions on the market offering out-of-the-box solutions including advanced data capture functionality and rapid implementation process enabling businesses to get started quickly on their digitization journey. Thanks to the cloud businesses can be up and running with AP automation and allow employees to approve invoices remotely in a matter of a few weeks.
The benefits of a remote, paperless accounts payable process also include reduction of errors, process efficiency and greater visibility into financial metrics. The latter being of extensive importance at these times of business uncertainty.
Effortless invoice management
With a cloud-based invoice data capture and automation solution, your invoices are entered into a digital workflow where invoice data, regardless of format (paper, pdf, e-invoice, XML…) is captured into a unified format. Smart business rules automate the coding and distribution of an invoice based on type, supplier or other parameters that are important for your business. The approval process is completed in an online tool, or even on a mobile device.
You don’t even have to chase down managers for their approvals, the system will send automatic reminders according to your preferred schedule. Once approved – and that is no longer a pain in the *** chore for those involved - the accounts payable system will send all details to your ERP system for final posting and payment.
Reduce errors in PO matching
If you work with purchase orders and goods receipts, you know what a headache it can be when there are deviations on the invoice. Have you received all the goods? Did they invoice at the right price? Have they added special charges? Do they continue to make it a challenge to actually pay them because their billing process is antiquated and never seems to relate to what you’ve ordered from them? The pain is further piled on when there are multi-PO invoices and pages of line items on the invoice.
An AP automation solution enables you and your team to establish processes that are not only digitized but also highly streamlined and automated. By applying advanced matching capabilities to maximize touchless processing, most invoices will be managed without any user intervention and only an invoice that requires attention is put in front of the right person at the right time, for them to apply their business expertise.
Greater visibility & transparency
Automation allows you to regain full control and visibility to the process while you’ll let the software do all the heavy lifting with repetitive, tedious tasks. Your team will be able to focus on the tasks that need their intelligence and creativity, such as analyzing the process flow and produce reports to the rest of the organization, instead of wasting their time manually crunching numbers and papers./p>
Finally, measuring everything from your team’s performance success to ensuring you capture discounted pricing from your suppliers will only take minutes, instead of hours or days.
This increase in visibility and transparency will have benefits other than time management; you’ll also know that your company is always paying invoices on time, and be able to see any discrepancies that could lead to risk - or opportunities - quickly. And in times like today, when visibility is essential to keeping your business afloat, having the latest data and insights at your fingertips can guide your direction on business-critical decisions.
Simply put, cloud-based accounts payable automation means more flexibility and control as well as less mistakes, and less regrets.
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