How Much Do Manual Invoice Processes Cost? Is it Worth It?
What if you could automate your A/P Processing? If you’re thinking about digitizing invoices, you’re not alone! The Institute for Finance & Management (IOFM) indicates that 70-80% of invoices are still paper.
- Fact: 66% of Invoices are on paper
- Fact: $11.66 is the average cost to process a paper invoice
- Fact: 62% of labor costs are consumed by A/P
So, what are you supposed to do? You can’t change the way people invoice you. They send them in paper, so you have to process them that way, right? WRONG! You can change the way you process them. Accounts Payable automation helps you enhance A/P process efficiency, improve control of information, and save money. Here’s how…
The BPA of A/P Automation
Business Process Automation (BPA) is the umbrella term for software applications that help organizations streamline business processes. BPA leverages imaging and workflow applications, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Intelligent Automation (IA) to automate manual tasks, like Accounts Payable.
RPA uses software robots to do standard routine tasks (like inputting data into your A/P software) . IA leverages Artificial Intelligence (AI) to handle more complex tasks (like verifying that invoice amounts and purchase order amounts match). When A/P departments leverage BPA, it results in greater efficiency and lower costs.
How Does It Work?
Digitization - Many businesses use scanning software or scanning services like Paper Alternative Solutions to turn incoming invoices into digital files. Usually when a scanning service is used, invoices arrive at a PO box and the scanning service picks them up, scans, indexes and verifies them, then transmits them to the organization for processing. This method means that there is no internal handling of the paper invoices, and often leads to digitization and automation of the entire mailroom.
Intelligent Automation - IA uses machine learning and other AI tools to execute tasks using the information derived from the invoices and the reconciliation process. For example, Forms Magic automates data entry using patented machine learning algorithms to extract data from documents as they're scanned.
Reconciliation, Integration & File Storage - Scanned invoices and all of the accompanying data can be easily transmitted and stored in a cloud or Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system such as ImageSilo®, making workflow automation easy and ensuring that future audits are a snap.
Automated workflow routes the invoices to the appropriate person for approval. The reconciliation process for invoices is usually reduced from 11 days to 3 days when a cloud-based digital workflow is used rather than a traditional manual workflow.
Additionally, the digital files can then be integrated with virtually any line-of-business (LOB) the organization has such as SAP, Oracle and Microsoft Dynamics™ GP, commonly known as Great Plains. If there are standard routine tasks that need to be performed on the files, those are completed automatically by the software robots.
Break free from slow, expensive AP processes by following these 5 Easy Steps:
- Scan invoices when they’re received to improve control of sensitive information
- Index invoices to find them again in seconds
- Reconcile information electronically to streamline your entire process
- Remit payments using electronic approvals and signatures
- Retain electronic records at a much lower cost than paper
Streamline Accounts Payable Processes
Every business has bills to pay, and most have some type of A/P procedure in place. However, many A/P departments are not efficient and may even be costing you money with missed early payment discounts, late fees, lost invoices, and time consumed with phone calls and faxes to request additional paperwork.
We can help you streamline your accounts payable processes, so that your bills get paid on time, every time. www.paperalternative.com
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October, 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.