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4 Ways AP Automation Gives Your Department Control

By iPayables | August 4, 2022

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As with most things that are automated by technology, many people worry that it if a machine is “doing all the work,” there won’t be any room for humans to intervene in the case of an error. However, instead of seeing accounts payable automation as people versus machines, it’s more accurate to view it as a tool that actually gives your department more control by centralizing and simplifying the invoicing process. With enterprise-level accounts payable automation, invoice management becomes a breeze—revitalizing morale for the entire department.

1. Spend Insights

With enterprise-level accounts payable automation, your department gets a big-picture view of AP. With automated invoice management, reports are automatically created based off of AP’s activity. The accounts payable department is then able to create detailed report cards on where money is being spent, how long invoices are taking to process on average, any discounts you may be missing, or any other insights you want to keep an eye on. With unlimited users, management from across other departments are also able to access crucial reporting info from accounts payable.

2. Match Exception

High-tech AI and machine learning are at the core of any efficient invoice management automation. With AI and OCR combined technology, the system is able to read information directly off invoices and put them into the system. If the technology is uncertain of any information on an invoice, it will produce a low confidence level, allowing AP to go back and review the information, maintaining their control over invoice management. This means that with technology and the payables team working hand in hand, invoices are more consistently accurate than ever before. On top of that, machine learning builds a confidence level with the new information and corrections made, so as time goes on, AP will see fewer exceptions, while still maintaining accurate invoices. Accounts payable staff will now have time to focus on more meaningful tasks, without having to constantly worry about dreaded match exceptions.

3. When Invoices Are Paid

When dealing with manual or low-level processes, AP doesn’t have much control over when the invoice is paid; typically, they are left waiting on approvals or exception corrections from other departments—causing stress and chaos among the payables department just to get invoices paid on time. When invoice management is streamlined through high-level automation (that includes approval workflow with automatic escalations), invoices are processed faster, so your department now has more time to decide when those invoices should be paid. With all that time freed up, your department can now take advantage of supplier early-pay discounts. Plus, with an enterprise-level solution, dynamic discounting features will enable AP to choose their own date they want to pay the invoice, and the system will calculate a percentage based on that date.

4. Supplier Relations

But how could automating invoice management in turn improve relationships with suppliers? Don’t you still have to talk to them and answer their phone calls if there’s a dispute? The answer is, yes and no. Enterprise-level AP automation solutions mean that your department no longer has to field supplier inquiries via phone or email. With the existence of a supplier portal, suppliers can view and submit invoices electronically. AP or suppliers can flag the invoice for dispute if there’s an error, and any communications between the two happen directly on the invoice. These interactions are then permanently stored to the cloud. This, along with custom rules for how invoices are submitted, gives AP control over how suppliers submit their invoices, and how the subsequent communications are handled.

AP Automation: Level Up, Take Back Control

Enterprise-level accounts payable automation is an incredibly effective way to ensure that your AP department has maximum control over their operations. When implementing innovative enterprise-level solutions, AP departments take a step into the future by leveling up their automation to take back control.

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