So you’ve heard a lot about accounts payable (AP) automation, but you aren’t really sure your company has a problem that AP automation solves and you don’t want to look into launching a project of this magnitude if you aren't certain you are going to benefit from it. Below we do our part to help you make this determination by offering a list of common issues that AP automation can eliminate:

  1. Invoices received across the company, by anyone, at any time – In many companies, invoices are received in many different places by multiple people across the organization. This makes it difficult to track liabilities and manage the process.
  2. Your process is in the hands (and heads) of a few people – In many organizations, “tribal knowledge” is prevalent. That means that knowledge of the company’s invoice approval process sits in the heads of the AP processors, and while that may not be noticeable every day, it becomes a big problem when these employees leave or get promoted. It also makes it impossible to ensure proper controls.
  3. Excel spreadsheets and post-it notes comprise your invoice tracking and approval workflow – If your invoice payment process relies on numerous spreadsheets and color markers to identify and track invoices received and out for review and approval, you find yourself manually keying the same information into multiple systems, or you make multiple copies of invoices “just in case,” you have a process ripe for automation.
  4. You dread the auditors – Constantly trying to enforce controls manually? Lack a consistent, unassailable audit trail? Have to dig through boxes or file cabinets full of invoice copies and related documents? All these issues can be quickly and easily solved with the right automation solution.
  5. Your CFO needs answers, and needs them now – In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing business environment, visibility is more critical than ever. Not having instant access to your entire AP process is a risk you should not accept.
  6. Paper everywhere – Wrestling with paper invoices or printing out PDFs of invoices and keying data into your system is a time-consuming and error-fraught process. The right optical character recognition (OCR) solution can eliminate manual invoice keying -- guaranteed.
  7. You use different processes to handle the various ways in which you receive invoices – You receive paper invoices, EDI or supplier network submissions, or PDFs attached to emails. As a result, you find yourself stuck in the middle with different processes and an incomplete solution. Getting to a “single stream” invoice receipt process will greatly simplify your life and that of your vendors and users.
  8. Too much manual data entry – Even if you offshore your manual data entry, it is a slow process and expensive to manage. Many companies have found that the arrangements with overseas vendors to make the offshoring strategy work are proving to be less than satisfactory. A Software as a Service (SaaS) OCR solution and exception-based quality review is much more effective, as it is faster and will eliminate manual keying and set the stage for further savings through automation.

This list comes from Chapter 1 of DataServ’s new AP automation eBook, It’s Time You Automated Accounts Payable – Here’s How, which is available to download for free by clicking here.


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