How to Jump Off the Invoice Processing Treadmill

Cathy Ferro

Automated accounts payable software eliminates manual tasks associated with invoice processing.

How to Jump Off the Invoice Processing Treadmill

The accounts payable departments at most businesses must feel like they are on a treadmill.


Much of an AP pro’s day is spent on manual invoice processing:

  • Keying invoice data and matching invoices and POs
  • General ledger (GL) coding
  • Tracking down approvers
  • Physically routing invoices
  • Following up on invoice approvals
  • Resolving invoice exceptions via back-and-forth e-mails and phone calls
  • Keying information on approved invoices into an ERP
  • Handling supplier inquiries
  • Printing, stuffing and mailing paper checks
  • Reconciling checks and invoices


In fact, the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM) finds that transaction processing consumes 84 percent of the average accounts payable professional’s time, leaving only 16 percent for value-added activities such as data analysis, supplier management and vendor master cleanup.

The results of IOFM’s AP Key Performance Indicators Study underscore the burden of manual invoice processing.  Of the 69 full-time equivalents (FTEs) employed in AP departments (on average across all locations), all but one performs invoice data entry.

It’s no wonder improving invoice processes and eliminating manual AP tasks rank highest among accounts payable leaders.  They recognize that they need to spend less time on AP and invoice processing. Instead, they could spend that time on value-added activities such as spend management and cash flow analysis.


How AP automation solutions eliminate manual tasks

Automated accounts payable solutions eliminate manual invoice processing tasks such as data entry, paper shuffling, filing, and document retrieval. This frees accounts payable staff to focus on things that matter more.

An AP automation solution leverages advanced technologies such as a digital mailroom, intelligent data capture, dynamic workflows, a supplier portal, seamless integration to any legacy ERP, and business intelligence to post a high percentage of invoices straight-through.

Accounts payable robots (or “bots”) log into an e-mail box, FTP site or online supplier portal to retrieve invoices for processing.  Suppliers also can use an online portal built into an invoice processing platform to submit invoices electronically or to “flip” purchase orders (POs) into electronic invoices.  The result is that all accounts payables processes are centralized onto a single platform.


Technology that boosts AP automation software

AP automation software uses optical character recognition (OCR), e-mail invoice extraction, robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning (MA) and proprietary technology to extract and verify data from each invoice according to pre-defined business rules.  Invoice data is guaranteed 99.5% accurate and then matched against a PO.  In addition, matched invoices upload seamlessly to any ERP application, including SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, NetSuite, Sage, and Infor.  The best AP automation solutions also integrate with supplier billing systems to deliver detailed remittance data.

Unmatched invoices, or those without a PO, are digitally routed for approval based on configurable business rules.  If any data required for approval is missing from an invoice (such as a PO number), an AP automation solution sends an e-mail to the supplier’s billing department.  The supplier then clicks a link, inputs the required information and re-submits the invoice.  The data input by the supplier is validated in real-time, eliminating the possibility of back-and-forth e-mails.

In summary, without automated accounts payable solutions, AP staff will keep running on the invoice processing treadmill.



Edenred Pay, an Edenred Company, is the global leader in invoice-to-pay automation. Our integrated platform connects businesses with suppliers, ERPs, banks, FinTechs, and payment rails to automate, optimize, and monetize the entire B2B payments lifecycle – from invoice receipt through payment reconciliation. Edenred Pay’s efficient, integrated solutions create a frictionless process and help deliver value to the enterprise by enhancing visibility and monetizing AP.

Visit or contact us to learn more.