We now live in a world where a new class of digital tools are reshaping almost every aspect of business communication and interaction. You don’t have to look far to see the spectacular impact of cloud, robotics, analytics, artificial intelligence, automation, and more. These are some of the digital disruptors that are really changing how business today gets done.
So what does all of this mean for the future of finance? Quite a lot actually.
Most organisations are already seeing a vast array of benefits from automating key processes in other business functions, so why should finance and accounts payable be any different? Certainly, automation of invoice processing can be achieved more easily and cost-efficiently than often anticipated and the range of benefits can be profound. Read on and learn 5 key benefits of document processing automation and how this can help your business keep pace with ever changing demands as you embrace the future of AP.
- Save Time
Manually processing tens or hundreds of invoices each day is a time consuming, costly and risk prone exercise for the AP team. Automating this key process can save your department a lot of time; in many cases businesses save a staggering 80%. So you’re not only boosting the productivity of your team by enabling them to increase the amount of invoices they can process per person, per day you’ll also be able to drive greater business value by being able to redeploy them to more productive tasks.
- Save Money
In the accounts payable world, money leaving the organisation, rather than coming in, is an accepted norm. However, process automation can help the team maximise opportunities for cost efficiency. Automating supplier invoice processing will help increase any early payment discounts you may be missing so you’ll be able to start saving your organisation money. Conversely, it mitigates the risk of late payment penalties that often come hand-in-hand with manual, inefficient processes. It’s a simple equation, maximise what comes in and minimise what goes out.
- Reduce Errors
Based on our own research with UK businesses, 66% of decisions makers want to simplify and automate their document processes, particularly incoming documents, which are still largely manual. This is in part to reduce the errors that result. Manual processes involve a lot of human intervention which can lead to duplicate payments, input errors, missing information and missing out on early payment discounts. These errors cost the business time and money every day and in a worst case scenario can have dramatic implications on governance, compliance and reputation too.
- Increase Visibility
Imagine a world where anyone in the business could locate a single document within seconds. Using an automated solution for your supplier invoices will allow anyone with an interest to be able to view a digital copy of the invoice at any time they need it. It will also allow for invoices to be tracked from receipt all the way through to payment. As well as providing productivity and transparency, this drives business critical benefit when it comes to governance and compliance. With such visibility, any audit process becomes far less resource intensive and resulting costs are often significantly reduced.
- Approve on the Move
We operate in a world of ‘business anywhere’. Therefore it’s no surprise that Finance and Department managers like to keep up-to-date on company expenditure at all times. Automating your invoice processes enables managers to approve purchase orders or invoices no matter where they and from whatever device; Be that from a desktop, smart phone or tablet. So your business faces less delays and resource bottlenecks, maximising organisational speed and agility.
Real World Success: Mitsubishi Electric
Global leader of electronic equipment, Mitsubishi Electric, manually processed 25,000 invoices per year this meant a huge amount of human error and duplication not to mention difficulty in establishing a sufficiently robust audit trail. The business wanted to speed up it’s invoice processes and free up staff time. Process automation has given the business 90% straight-through processing, dramatically reduced cost and processing time, freed-up staff time for value-add activities, instant document visibility and a great audit trail from start to finish.
So, where could automation benefit your business?
Your AP team does not have to spend hours of time consumed within manual data entry or searching for lost documents out on workflow approval. This can become an efficient, streamlined automated process, fully integrated into your current ERP systems. Not only does this make everyday tasks less costly and resource heavy but also speeds up the invoice processing times which ultimately boosts agility, team productivity and supports better supplier relationships.