As businesses measure their growth based on revenue and expense cycles, accounts payable’s invoice payment activities can have a large impact on these cycles. Invoice processing is a key part of the procure-to-pay life cycle that makes up a company’s expenditure cycle.
The payable process generally involves receiving and validating invoices, capturing and coding the data on the invoice, invoice matching, approvals, payment, and financial posting. The critical factor that makes this workflow accurate is the efficiency and accuracy of the company’s accounts payable team.
However, studies say, on average, 3.6% of invoices have serious errors. Best-performing companies that adopt intelligent accounts payable practices significantly reduced the error rates to below 1% or almost to zero. The adoption of intelligent accounts payable solutions makes remarkable improvements across accounts payable performance variables such as process cost, verification, invoice fraud, duplication, multi-tier approvals, and partner satisfaction.
In this article, we’ll examine how to transform enterprise accounts payable workflow with intelligent automation.
Conventional Accounts Payable Cycle
Accounts payable (AP) involves most of a company’s payment activities except payroll. Based on the resource capacity, enterprises may have an in-house AP team or bookkeepers to handle the end-to-end accounts payable activities, or they may have outsourced the entire function, which adds cost to the process and may result in a degradation of quality.
An AP team’s sole purpose is to verify and pay invoices accurately within the respective timeframe. AP teams review purchase orders and validate them against receipts and invoices to ensure consistency of pricing, goods received, and payment terms. AP is also bounded by internal controls to avoid fraudulent or duplicate invoice submissions, inaccuracies, and so on.
(Conventional Accounts payable Process Flow)
These processes are carried out either through a manual two-way (PO to invoice) or three-way (PO to receipt to invoice) matching process, which compares quantity, cost, description, PO terms receipts, and vendor invoice. However, the manual accounts payable process poses additional challenges and errors to businesses. This costs companies in multiple ways, particularly in financial, time to process aspects.
External and internal fraud is one of the main threats where fraudulent invoices are submitted, and paid, along with legitimate transactions. Time-consuming approvals are another challenge that manual AP teams deal with. These challenges result in delayed, missing, and inaccurate payments.
Likewise, ineffective data capture, inefficient AP resources, insufficient storage capacity, invoice mismanagement, financial loss, extended exception handling, poor record-keeping, and complicated follow-up are the other daunting threats in a manual accounts payable cycle.
How to Transform Accounts Payable with Intelligent Automation?
Shifting from conventional AP processing to intelligent automation is the most effective way to transform accounts payable from a labor-intensive workflow to a streamlined and error-free operation.
Enabling intelligent automation solutions across AP will change the way invoices are processed and paid. It will shift the role of accounts payable to a more proactive and forward-looking department. If your current outlook of AP raises the question “ Is it necessary to automate enterprise accounts payable?”, have a look at the industry benchmarking studies by leaders.
“Gartner’s study reveals that by 2025, 50% of business-to-business invoices worldwide will be processed and paid without manual intervention.” Hence. making AP automation not an option but a necessity to keep pace with changing market demands.
Intelligent AP automation offers a range of solutions from streamlining invoice sorting, verification, matching, data capture, validation, and payment and financial posting. Moreover, this sort of solution can enhance vendor relationships, secure early payment discounts, prioritize delivery, improve the customer experience, and increase team productivity.
What is the Need for a Fully-integrated Automated Accounts Payable Solution?
Providing intelligence to the accounts payable process helps to derive dramatic operational efficiency across the enterprise accounting function. It eliminates unnecessary human intervention that can decrease the AP team’s efficiency. However, there are differences in AP automation solutions available in the market. Some offer partial automation and others guarantee a fully integrated AP automation solution.
The requirement of fully integrated accounts payable automation solution is that each phase of the AP cycle contributes to the operation’s holistic performance. With the partial automation solutions, businesses will lose end-to-end process visibility, resulting in uneven performance throughputs. But a fully integrated intelligent accounts payable solution like Applexus InSITE helps gain operational and organizational efficiency across the AP life cycle.
(Workflow of Applexus Intelligent Supplier Invoice Transformation and Enablement Solution)
Transforming accounts payable with an intelligent automation solution not only streamlines the operation but provides additional benefits such as:
- Reduction in labor, processing costs, and cycle time
- Elimination of duplicate invoice settlements and overpayments
- Reduction of time and expense associated with audit processing
- Ability to leverage vendor discounts through awareness, tracking, and visibility
- Reduction of non-compliance fees through strict adherence to accounting processes
How Accounts Payable Automation with Applexus InSITE Change the Game?
Applexus InSITE is an end-to-end intelligent accounts payable solution. It fully automates the AP process using in-built AIDER technology. From invoice processing to payment posting, the entire AP cycle is managed with a high level of accuracy.
Unlike the common AP solutions, Applexus InSITE provides more visibility across the AP cycle. Also, it offers an easy-to-use interface and amiable user experience, fully integrated with SAP platforms.
The additional operational benefits that InSITE offers are:
- Improved data accuracy levels using self-learning capabilities, out-of-the-box smart AI functionality with no training required
- Pre-packaged and guided configuration
- Minimal dependency on IT
- Short implementation and training timeline
- Easy configurability by business users
- Intuitive and simple user experience within SAP with productivity-enhancing features
- Intelligent invoice assignment to reduce the workload of AP executives
- Easy substitution management for automated workflow approvals to improve invoice processing time
- Intelligent insights with end-to-end analytics, monitoring, and reporting
- Automated document archival and easy discoverability
In addition, the pre-configured invoice management based on AP best practices and the option to multi-format invoice submission enables Applexus InSITE to stand out from the crowd as the best intelligent accounts payable automation solution on the market.
In summary, if you are looking to reduce AP processing costs, increase invoice payment accuracy and streamline your overall AP function, Applexus InSITE is your answer.
Thank you so much for the precious time you spent reading our blog. This has been posted first on the Applexus website (Link: https://www.applexus.com/blogs/transform-enterprise-accounts-payable-with-intelligent-automation)
You are always welcome to ask any doubt about our product Applexus InSITE or with its functionality, integration, and implementation here in SAP Community.