What IT Pros Like About Accounts Payable Automation
The more IT practitioners know about AP automation software, the more they like it! Learn about the benefits of AP automation software.
Accounts payable leaders cite lots of reasons for not automating their invoice processing.
Chief among them is a lack of IT resources.
To be sure, IT departments have their hands full, especially as they try to support the sudden shift to remote working. IT practitioners spend most of their time supporting existing technology.
But the more IT pros know about AP automation software, the more they like it.
How does AP automation software work?
AP automation software leverages advanced technologies such as a digital mailroom, intelligent data capture, and dynamic workflows. A supplier portal, seamless integration with any legacy ERP, and business intelligence are additional features of some AP automation providers. These features allow posting a high percentage of paper and electronic supplier invoices straight-through.
Accounts payable robots (or “bots”) log into an email 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. They can submit invoices electronically or “flip” purchase orders (POs) into electronic invoices using the portal. The result is that a single platform centralizes all invoice processes.
AP automation software uses a combination of optical character recognition (OCR), email 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. Matched invoices seamlessly upload to any ERP application, including SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, NetSuite, Sage, Infor, MS Dynamics, and many others. Also, the best AP automation solutions 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 email 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 emails, further relieving AP specialists of the monotonous tasks burdening their day-to-day routines.
AP automation software benefits for IT pros
Accounts payable automation benefits IT professionals in five ways:
1. Seamless ERP integration.
IT departments spend a lot of time deploying, customizing, and maintaining a company’s ERP. Many ERP systems are not fully leveraged despite the importance and tremendous upfront and ongoing investments businesses make. This is because the business processes that touch these expensive systems are not optimized. The IT professionals at some companies try to use kluge processes as a workaround for this situation.
AP automation solutions integrate with any ERP or accounting system, providing a single platform for managing front- and back-office information and processes. Invoice processing software automatically syncs data between the systems with no duplication of content. AP automation also connects an organization’s structured data, such as data in an ERP system, with unstructured content, such as invoices and purchase orders. In addition, an accounts payable system can integrate with the workflows established in a legacy ERP or provide separate digital workflows.
2. Fast, easy implementation.
The last thing an IT department needs is a complex and resource-intensive system implementation. Cloud-based AP automation solutions deploy fast, with minimal IT involvement. The best AP solutions integrate easily with legacy ERPs. Additionally, flexible configurations and intuitive user controls streamline deployment and training.
3. Reduced storage costs.
Data and document volumes are exploding across the corporate enterprise. Cloud-based invoice processing software eliminates the need for physical document storage. It electronically archives and manages images and data in a highly secure environment while providing authorized users instant access to data. Furthermore, the best AP automation systems can scale without burdening IT or requiring more servers.
4. Streamlined compliance.
Information governance and security are increasingly significant parts of IT’s responsibilities. AP automation solutions safeguard sensitive financial information through configurable roles-based access and interface controls. The technology also creates complete audit trails of all system activities and gives administrators real-time visibility into user activities. It also gives them the ability to adjust security controls quickly.
Automated management of document retention policies, legal holds, and disposition workflows ensures that documents are not prematurely discarded or destroyed. And digital approval and exceptions workflows eliminate the chance that documents will be lost, misfiled, or stolen. Auditors can even have view-only access to the system, eliminating the need for buyers to physically collect and photocopy invoices and documents requested by auditors.
5. Better audit control.
IT pros play a critical role in ensuring a business complies with internal and external auditor guidelines. AP automation solutions increase audit controls by restricting the ability to approve invoices and initiate payments to authorized individuals. Invoice processing software also separates operator duties (providing checks and balances) and creates audit trails of all activities within the system, including invoice approval and payment initiation.
Unlike paper-based processes, AP automation provides real-time visibility into all processes and prevents unauthorized individuals from accessing sensitive data, such as supplier banking details. Invoice processing software also makes it easy to reconcile transactions frequently, increasing the chances of spotting fraudulent payments quickly.
Emphasizing these benefits of AP automation will help win IT’s support for your project.
If automation is a priority for your accounts payable department, Edenred Pay wants to speak with you.
Contact Edenred Pay to arrange a time to speak with one of our automation experts about your needs.
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.