We rely on cutting-edge technology in every facet of our consumer lives. In fact, even more than just relying, robots and purely software-based bots have become a part of our everyday life, performing all kinds of tasks from welding cars and vacuuming the house to deciphering documents and answering customer service queries. Machines performing tasks for humans make life at the office easier, too.
Robotic process automation (RPA) is one prime example of how every business can do more to streamline their operations. That’s because RPA handles basic tasks across a variety of applications. You can teach this bot an entire workflow consisting of multiple steps and multiple applications such as automated invoice processing.
Accounts payable automation does more than save time and money. It means humans in the finance or accounting departments will have their hands and heads free to do the things where they really add value to the business. It addresses concerns about current or potential labor shortages. It even touches on rising costs (especially when it comes to the rising costs of physical space). Combine the reliable magic of RPA with innovative machine learning and wrap it into an intuitive user interface, and you arrive at a powerful end-to-end platform like Yooz that sets the gold standard for automated invoice processing.
Don’t get Swamped with Paper Invoices, Take Advantage of Accounts Payable Software
What are the steps necessary to pull off automated invoice processing? Let’s assume a typical business office operation where vendors submit dozens or hundreds of invoices a week. Traditionally, with limited or no automation present, an invoice had to be opened and processed by the accounts payable department.
Amounts and other information needed to be entered manually, GL-coded and matched to existing purchase orders, then routed to the next person for approval and final payment, which would all too often involve cutting and mailing checks. No wonder that such an overwhelmingly manual, paper-based workflow system is error-prone when processing an invoice.
In this old invoicing system, amounts and account numbers could be mistyped, incorrect invoices might go undetected, other invoices might be misplaced. Invoices out for payment approval could pile up while other team members were out of the office or on the road. These issues became more commonplace and taken on even more urgency when entire businesses - let along accounting offices - shuttered, reopened, and shuttered again during the pandemic.
Vendors and customers who were waiting for the payments would eventually get on the phone or fire off emails to inquire about their outstanding payment. Perhaps there may be fines imposed for late payments. Not to mention the final step of archiving and storing invoices for future financial audits or reporting tasks. Don't forget that it takes space and time to organize a system and retrieve boxes full of paper, plus time to figure out the constantly changing regulations on exactly how much needs to be retained and for how long.
The bottom line? The manual, paper-based accounts payable process is time-consuming and costly; an inefficient system at best that is ripe for change.
Saving Time and Money with Accounts Payable Automation Software
All those process inefficiencies quickly add up in terms of time and money. That’s where accounts payable invoice automation comes in to help. While it costs, on average, $9.12 to manually process an invoice, an automated platform can automatically process 80% of all incoming invoices without any prior configuration for a fraction of the cost.
For example, if a small business handles 100 invoices a month, the annual costs of forgoing automation add up to $18,348, while a platform such as Yooz can perform the work with fewer errors and in a matter of hours for just $2,388 a year, or a savings totaling $15,960.
This amount doesn’t even factor in other tangible savings:
- Any business can save additional money by locking in early-pay discounts and avoiding late fees.
- Accounts payable teams can catch most incorrect invoices and outright fraud, whether it’s internal or external.
- Vendor inquiries won’t eat up valuable time, freeing staff to focus on high-value tasks.
- The whole enterprise benefits from real-time financial intelligence to optimize cash management.
- Having vendors submit their invoices through a dedicated portal not only streamlines the process, but it also strengthens the relationship between suppliers and an organization.
Solve Multiple Problems at Once with Software for Accounts Payable Automation
So let’s look in more detail at how the invoice automation solution made and perfected by Yooz works.
It’s based on technology that the company has developed over the course of two decades and keeps constantly refining. The company has quite literally seen more than 100 million invoices and learned from every single one. No matter in what format an invoice, expense report, or purchase orders comes into the system, the platform will capture, process, and understand it.
A vendor can email, fax, or electronically submit their documents, even send something in on old-fashioned paper for a quick scan. The software can recognize the individual invoices in a batch submission and intelligently split them, either with a stamp or through a fully automatic, hands-free process.
Next comes truly understanding the content of an invoice. With an entirely cloud-based platform, users always benefit from the latest advances in smart data extraction and machine learning to capture and read every document, amount for amount, word for word.
True invoice automation means fast capture and straight-through processing of documents instead of outsourcing part of your workflow to an offshore provider. Over time, intelligent software will learn and remember each vendor’s particular invoice template to further improve workflow process speed.
That decisive advantage translates into 80 percent savings in cycle time, reducing invoice processing time from several weeks to days or even hours.
Accounts Payable Automation Software Keeps on Learning and Boosting ROI
It’s a momentous switch that can happen with amazing speed. Once a business decides to go paperless with intelligent invoice automation, it can be up and running in under an hour. The AP team needs just a browser to get started, and savings accumulate equally fast.
The intelligent software can automatically GL-code each invoice and then route it to the right person for review and approval. Its latest version, Yooz Rising, takes invoice automation one step further by routing an invoice simultaneously to multiple recipients if that’s part of the organization’s workflow. It will automatically flag suspicious submissions such as duplicates, fraudulent invoices or documents with missing details. RPA and artificial intelligence then hand those outliers off to designated humans who can review the exceptions.
If the pandemic has made one thing clear it’s this: work must go on even when the office can’t be staffed as usual. Empty chairs at headquarters are no excuse for not processing invoices and not paying vendors or suppliers who need to stay in business. Reviewing and processing an invoice should be a resilient workflow that doesn’t grind to a halt with WFH mandates. Invoice automation enables AP teams to work from anywhere and any device. They can review invoices, approve them and even initiate a payment from their smartphone or tablet.
Onboarding in a Few Hours. It’s Possible with Accounts Payable Automation Software
This intelligent and lean workflow shows its true strength when a business grows or expands to new locations. Automation is easier to scale the moment when more invoices come in, and it allows a business to onboard additional sites in a matter of hours. New users will be able to get started with minimum training and can quickly customize their dashboard view just as they would with their favorite consumer app.
Invoice automation done right also includes tight and seamless integration with a company’s existing financial software or ERP system. The Yooz platform easily connects to more than 250 of the leading products, so any company can keep doing what it has learned to use and loves to use for maximum efficiency. That way, invoices will be automatically matched with a purchasing order and items already paid will also be immediately marked accordingly.
There are two more significant advantages to streamlining your accounts payable workflow with intelligent invoice automation. Both have to do with more visibility.
- Searching for an invoice changes from a hunt for paper into typing keywords into your browser window, much like what you are used to doing with a search engine.
- It generates real-time financial intelligence out of every invoice it processes, so not only the AP team but the entire organization benefits from better insights.
Pay the Way You Like It... Thanks to End-to-End Accounts Payable Automation Software
The final step in smart invoice automation is initiating payments for those invoices that have been approved. Here, too, accounts payable automation can make a big difference in saving time and money. The Yooz platform connects with several ERP systems and payment providers for an unmatched start-to-finish experience that lets companies choose the method of electronic payment they prefer at the speed they prefer.
Invoice automation processing is the future for so many reasons. But don’t take our word for it. Instead, let’s have a look at what the experienced market watchers at Ardent Partners expect to see in accounts payable automation in the near future. For their just-published report “Accounts Payable Metrics that Matter in 2021,” they polled more than 200 finance and accounting leaders. A resounding 59 percent said that they’ll have a more fully automated AP process within two years.
That’s encouraging news and warrants a deep dive into the AP metrics of the future. Stay tuned.