Automated Processes vs. Partial Automation
Just about every company has some form of automation incorporated into their system, but what most companies don’t realize is that they are losing out on many benefits that come from being fully automated. What do partially automated processes look like? Some examples of partial automation include emailed invoices in the form of PDFs and OCR invoicing.
Emailed PDFs are a step-up from paper invoicing, but still can present many problems. They require excessive time and effort, and can still get easily lost, forgotten, or even accidentally deleted. In addition, emailed PDFs can’t be tracked – you never know at what stage the invoice is at, or who has viewed or edited the invoice.
A step-up from emailed PDFs is using OCR technology. OCR is not truly a form of automation – rather it is a tool that the AP department can use to eliminate some data entry efforts and reduce the paper pile-up. However, it still requires a lot of data clean up and the AP department still spends a lot of time manually correcting and inputting that information. Plus, just like emailed invoices, OCR technology isn’t as easily tracked, and can often be lost in the pile e-invoices in your inbox. While OCR technology is a great tool, it’s not enough to turn your workflow into a fully automated process.
Fully automated processes looks quite different from one that is partially automated. Choosing a software that fully automates your company, such as iPayables accounts payable automation solution, removes the need for you and your AP department to manually enter data from received invoices, freeing you up to be more productive in other ways.
Full automation opens the lines of communication between you and your suppliers in a way that isn’t possible in partial automation or through paper invoicing. Suppliers can key and upload invoices via the internet to the supplier portal in real time, where they are then automatically matched and routed to the appropriate users for approval. Additionally, any match exceptions can be changed in real time and tracked through that same portal.
Automation is fast, efficient, and accurate, simplifying the interactions between the suppliers and customers and allowing invoicing to be a couple day process instead of a multi-week fiasco.