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The Past, Present, and Future of AP Automation

It’s a well-known fact that organizations and accounts payable managers believe that one key component to keeping suppliers satisfied is an efficient AP software solution. At the same time, it also delivers cost-effective benefits to the company’s bottom line, while reducing manual intervention. This means that when AP Automation is done right, an organization’s vital resources are being allocated much more effectively.

According to a recent report from the Aberdeen Group, there are three basic chronological categories for accounts payable solutions and they are, the past, present, and future. Past solutions are those outdated solutions prior to Accounts Payable Automation and Electronic Invoicing. Present solutions are, of course, those we are using today that include AP Automation and E-invoicing. And, then there are future solutions, which will be much newer and more innovative and will rely on the emerging technologies of the future.

Optimum invoice management involves a mixture of technology, including:

  • Electronic Invoicing which significantly reduces or can eliminate all manual intercession in many routine operations. It can also include automatically alerting AP for any errors or discrepancies, should they arise.
  • Supplier Portals, which are self-service links, can be either internal or external or even both. It’s a perfect centralized management system for inquiries and other important communications.
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) prioritizes invoices for payment and adjusts the payment amount where necessary. Then both expenses and income are automatically entered to the ledger balance.
  • Robotic Automation of AP processes uses intelligent software for automating tasks that are both data-intensive and repetitive while also mirroring all the keystrokes involved in manual processing.
  • Mobile Apps can contribute to the expedient processing of payments while also helping with ensuring that all payments are managed more efficiently.

Accounts Payable Automation, is not only faster, but keeps suppliers happier while affording clients significant leverage for the renegotiation of any future terms via Dynamic Discounting. And, payments that are delayed are often caused by discrepancies that can arise between an invoice and its payment. AP Automation and E-Invoicing solutions provide the ability to collaborate between procurement, via mobile apps and supplier portals. This collaboration results in reduced discrepancies and faster payments.

Some of the technologies of the future, like Robotic Process Automation (RPA), are already here today. RPA can mimic a user’s actions while also employing algorithms logic for instantaneous reactions to exceptions and variations in processing. This means that RPA adjusts operations for scaling either up or down for meeting AP demands and carrying out the recommended functions.

Early users of this innovative RPA technology are three times more likely to use software that has been configured for capturing and interpreting the processing of their payments. In addition, they are three times more likely to employ bots for performing all of their rules-based repetitive processing.

Using a combination of solutions from all categories is the most effective method for achieving optimum control and cost savings, as well as improved relationships. This can ensure that your organization is using all the best AP processes from the past, present, and future.

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