From Invoice to Payment: The Seamless Journey through Automated Accounts Payable
November 17, 2023

In the dynamic landscape of financial management, businesses are constantly seeking ways to streamline processes and enhance efficiency. One critical aspect of this is the accounts payable (AP) cycle, where the journey from invoice receipt to payment execution can be transformed through automation. Automated accounts payable not only accelerates the processing time but also reduces errors, ensures compliance, and provides valuable insights into financial health.

Introduction to Automated Accounts Payable

In the traditional manual AP process, the journey from receiving an invoice to making a payment is often riddled with inefficiencies. Manual data entry, approval delays, and the risk of human error can lead to disruptions in cash flow. Automated accounts payable, on the other hand, leverages technology to streamline and expedite these processes, allowing businesses to achieve a seamless and error-free journey from invoice to payment.

A recent survey conducted by the Institute of Financial Operations & Leadership (IFOL) among finance professionals indicates that 54% of respondents currently operate "partially automated" AP departments, with only 9% achieving full automation. However, a notable shift is on the horizon, as two-thirds of IFOL respondents anticipate their AP processes reaching full automation by the year 2025. This imminent change underscores the industry's trajectory toward embracing automated solutions for enhanced efficiency and financial management.

Invoice capture and data extraction

Initiating the automation process begins with receiving an invoice, leveraging advanced OCR technology for efficient data capture. According to Aberdeen Group, 20% of invoices may contain errors, a challenge automated systems effectively tackle by eliminating manual data entry and reducing errors by 80%. Invoice automation streamlines processes, enhances accuracy, and expedites workflows.

Workflow automation and approval routing

Post-extraction, automated workflows are set in motion, addressing the top AP challenges identified by AP staff in a Level Research survey—manual data entry and inefficient processes. These workflows efficiently route invoices through predefined approval channels, facilitated by automation.

Integration with ERP systems

Automated accounts payable solutions seamlessly integrate with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. This integration ensures real-time synchronisation of financial data, providing a holistic view of the organisation's financial health. By eliminating silos and improving data accuracy, businesses can make more informed decisions and mitigate the risk of discrepancies between the AP system and other financial systems.

Electronic Payments and Vendor Collaboration

The zenith of automated accounts payable is reached with the implementation of electronic payments. Beyond just accelerating processing, this strategic shift proves a cost-efficient alternative to traditional paper checks. A study by the Credit Research Foundation reveals that nearly 50% of B2B payments still utilise paper checks, incurring a substantial cost of $4 to $20 per check, as estimated by Bank of America. In contrast, businesses can realise up to 60% processing cost savings by embracing digital payment methods, as highlighted in the global B2B payment report. Beyond cost-effectiveness, electronic payment adoption fosters collaboration with vendors, offering real-time visibility into payment statuses and enhancing communication channels for a transparent and efficient business ecosystem.

Reporting and analytics

A significant advantage of automated accounts payable is access to robust reporting and analytics. Businesses can generate detailed reports on payment trends, vendor performance, and cash flow forecasts. These insights empower organisations to make strategic decisions, negotiate better terms with vendors, and optimise their working capital.

Ready to get started?
Contact us now
Thanks for reaching out. We will get in touch with you very soon.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
* By clicking on Contact Us you are agreeing to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy policy.

Other Blogs

By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.