The Future of AP Automation
We are living in the age of technology, but unfortunately, many accounts payable departments are stuck in the past. Even though technology is advancing more every day, some departments are still utilizing low-level processes, or even entirely paper processes. These outdated methods of processing invoices put the department at a huge disadvantage—failing to achieve maximum efficiency, and causing strain on staff by forcing them to do mind-numbing repetitive tasks. Enterprise-level automation offers innovative solutions that allow companies to experience the future of AP.
Everyone has heard of artificial intelligence, but how does it relate to accounts payable automation? With high-level AP automation, the system is given an assigned set of rules, unique to each accounts payable department. Advanced artificial intelligence then executes those rules in order to input and process an invoice. AI can be paired with OCR in order to recognize specific information on invoices—eliminating the need for manual entry. In enterprise-level solutions, machine learning is also involved in this process, building up a confidence level of the system’s recognition of invoice information over time. With this kind of AI-based digitization in invoice processing, manual efforts are replaced, and AP’s staff can be reallocated to higher-value tasks.
Every now and then, there may be an instance where technology is initially unable to recognize an obscure set of information on an invoice. When this happens, the invoice is marked as an “exception,” which AP then must review and correct. With lower-level automation, AP will have to correct the same exceptions over and over again, wasting much of the staff’s time on what automation should be taking care of. Alternatively, with machine learning, (as mentioned before) the system builds a confidence level. With this confidence level, the system begins to recognize these exceptions and learns how to correct the issue itself, limiting the number of exceptions AP has to review. This, in turn, eliminates bottlenecks in invoice approval and reduces invoice processing time. With a quicker turn-around time, supplier relationships are improved—as well as opportunities for early-pay discounts being opened up.
Visibility Into Costs
Some of the most useful information that accounts payable can provide for its company is where exactly money is being spent. When AP is fully automated, all payments are tracked and recorded electronically. With enterprise-level solutions, you are able to generate reports in order to see information on spend and other important AP metrics. On top of that, comprehensive solutions will offer an unlimited number of users—meaning that executives across departments are able to log onto the solution’s online portal. From there, they can generate reports and pull important spend information on a departmental-basis as needed. This reporting across departments and visibility into spend helps bring a company together and be strategic about how money is spent in the future.
Enterprise-Level Automation: The Future of AP
Accounts payable departments of the future are taking advantage of enterprise-level automation. They are functioning faster, spending more effectively, taking advantage of discounts, and the team is happier now that they are able to focus on higher-value tasks. With all the tools provided to AP through enterprise-level solutions, the department no longer needs to worry about menial tasks, and can now be more efficient and productive than before.