In the last few years, Accounts Payable Departments have taken advantage of advances in AP Automation. For some, cloud-based software programs have cut their processing times by more than fifty percent.

Despite the advances, many companies still process their invoices by mail or FAX machine. Even when companies receive an invoice in an email, the attachment is often printed out, and a processing clerk inputs the important information by hand. While these companies save two or three days by not relying on the post office, this is not electronic invoicing at its finest.

Linking invoicing with payments turns two divisions that may have different internal priorities into an automated invoice-to-pay process. This change eliminates most human error and helps to keep customers satisfied. Today, with many businesses involved in some international operations, processing payments within hours instead of days can mean the difference in expanding that foothold in foreign markets and losing it completely.

Adopting an automated AP system can significantly decrease the procure-to-pay time. Paying a supplier within hours benefits both parties. Company CFO’s can look at their financials with confidence, knowing where they can expand or perhaps need to restrict and alter operations. Suppliers who agree to an automated system often receive a discount (dynamic discounting) and are more likely to accept last-minute changes to orders when they know payment is in their account that afternoon.

Internally, companies with people in the field or traveling to multiple meeting locations, relying on a manual AP system, can put these employees in a bind. Accounts payable automation helps process payments to the company credit card within hours, which gives travelers a free hand to make last minute changes.

It’s all about controlling spend management. AP Departments can maximize cash flow, increase budget oversight and eliminate paper with a more reliable accounts payable system than ever before.