Two years after COVID first began, many businesses are looking to return to business as usual. But for AP departments, the review of the last two years has highlighted the need for digital transformation.
In fact, according to the 2020 State of Account Payables Study, 33% of AP professionals said that the pandemic massively impacted business operations, with 25% saying they were highly impacted. Only 3% said AP functions stayed completely the same.
At the same time, it’s clear that most businesses haven’t shifted away from manual processes and paper invoices. According to the same study, 49% of invoices remained manual, which isn’t a big change from the 2019 research from Levvel, which found that 57% of data entry was still done by hand.
And it’s not all about paper invoices or paper checks – over half of AP departments report receiving invoices on pieces of paper.
Still, despite all the legacy processes in place, 80% of AP professionals have said that technology is important for their operations.
Let’s face it, even as employees return to the workplace, there’s something most AP teams want to stay in place – touchless AP automation. It just makes the AP process easier, for everyone.
Ditch quarantine, keep touchless technology
AP automation software has evolved so that the accounting department only has to review exceptions. The touchless invoice process has streamlined AP systems while reducing the chances of duplicate payments and fraud. It has also sped up invoice approval times and provided better visibility.
All while AP teams can sit back and focus on other high-value tasks.
There’s a reason that these new automated workflows are so optimized. And that has to do with improved technology.
For years, optical character recognition (OCR) has been in the limelight. OCR basically captures information from a receipt and imports it into your ERP system. But this is not enough.
But these days, AP automation solutions need to be far more robust. Not only do they have to accurately capture receipt information, but they also have to organize it in your ERP system and nearly instantly offer payment reconciliation. Early payment discounts can be tagged, and odd or duplicate invoices are flagged for manual approval.
All of this is made possible by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology that take AP automation to the next level.
It’s no longer about just digitizing paper processes, but an end-to-end solution that makes vendor payments take seconds rather than minutes and hours.
Zero-hype: AP Automation is everything they say it is
Can AP automation do every little bit of the process? No – at least not, yet. But it can seriously speed up your workflow. Automated AP processes can reduce invoice processing costs by 80% and process them 74% faster. And they are 61% more likely to cash in on early payment discounts.
In other words, while automation can’t send 100% of invoices straight through, it makes the payable process faster than ever. This touchless system provides AP teams with more time and more resources, all without forfeiting full control over their accounting system. As more data is collected about payment methods and the approval process, accounting teams can make adjustments to optimize the software.
In addition, most payable automation solutions will integrate with legacy accounting systems and ERPs, so the team doesn’t have to learn an entirely new platform.
These integrations also work with electronic payments and can capture data from a variety of invoices, which better supports suppliers.
A solid payable automation software is more than automated invoices. It’s a powerful tool that completes the invoice approval process in real-time.
With the tedious task of supplier invoices off their plate, AP teams can focus on high-value engagements.
Stop chasing invoices
The last thing any finance professional wants to do is track down a paper invoice for an audit or mindlessly enter invoice receipt information in a spreadsheet. Zero-touch AP automation can take that repetitive work and provide rich data on how to improve accounting operations.
The future of touchless accounting is now. Discover how you can optimize your AP workflow and schedule a demo with us today.