(PART 1) Automation is No Longer a Question of If – or When; It’s How Fast

7 Steps to Proving the Value of AP Automation for Your Business

Many AP professionals start their day with an inbox full of requests and invoices to be coded or approved. With the continuation of remote/hybrid work, they’ve lost even more visibility into where invoices are in the process. In fact, on average, AP team members spend more than 40% of their time looking for invoices that could be in multiple locations – even digitally.

If AP automation has become a priority for your business, it could be a good time to evaluate your process and build your business case for intelligent, cloud AP automation.

AP automation can save time and help reduce manual data entry, the #1 challenge and pain point for most AP staff, with AI-based data capture and validation. It can also help AP teams achieve greater efficiency and productivity with the right access to critical documents for everyone involved in your invoice process.

Surprisingly, though, AP automation isn’t always a top priority for businesses.

Often, the reasons that prevent companies from going digital include:

  • Lack of technical resources
  • Time constraints
  • Lack of budget

While these are all valid reasons, the truth is that, most organizations can’t afford to NOT go digital. Workspaces and environments are not what they used to be, nor do people have the time to be run in circles and manage manual invoices processes.

We’ve created a step-by-step guide to help you determine if your business is ready to automate.

Download the interactive PDF to follow along; fill in the blanks with your company’s metrics to help build your business case for automation.

Step One

The first step to learn whether your business is ready to automate is to look around your office. Maybe take a walk up and down the halls, and really look. Do you know where to find all your invoices? How much paper is on your desk? How many filing cabinets are taking up space on or off site?

If the answers to any of these questions were painful, it’s time to consider getting rid of the paper.

Also consider these statistics:

  • Filing cabinets cost an average of $25,000 to fill and $2,000 to maintain annually.
  • Typical employees spend up to 50% of their time each day looking for documents.

Think about it… How is your AP team feeling at the end of the month? Do they struggle to pay vendors on time? Is audit season a complete nightmare?

Check out this customer success story, where a healthcare company reduced their paper usage to less than 12% with AP automation.


Step Two 

Speaking of vendors, step two is to look at what your business relationship is like with your vendors. First, do you have visibility into invoice status when vendors, partners or employees call and ask about their payment? Are your vendors getting paid on time? Do you know how much your company could save on discounts if your vendors were paid early?

To complete the accounts payable cycle, consider an AP automation solution that includes electronic payment processing for your vendor payments.

Electronic payments are faster, more secure, and less expensive than manual checks and other forms of payment. Writing a check can cost $4-$10 per check! An integrated AP and payment automation experience can provide complete visibility throughout the entire process.

Watch the video below to learn more about the value of AP and payment automation.

Step Three 

Now let’s think about the invoices. How many invoices does your business receive per month? What format do they arrive in? Email? Paper? Many accounts payable processes are still manual, paper-based, and take 35 days or more to complete the process from invoice receipt to approval. They carry the risk of lost invoices, late payments, frustrated vendors and stressed employees. With AP automation, the 35-day process of getting an invoice processed could be reduced to less than five!

Recall the following:

  • 74% of AP professionals state manual data entry is their #1 challenge
  • AP staff spend more than 40% of their time looking for invoices
  • The cost to find a lost invoice is $125 and to replace it costs about $225.

Check out this whitepaper to learn more about the pain points that drive many businesses to AP automation.

There’s a better way to manage your invoice process.

Tune back in for part two and part three of this blog series.