As millions of businesses around the U.S. and the entire world are about to enter the second year of pandemic-driven restrictions, their employees have learned to cope with the so-called “new normal.” They’ve come up with smart and streamlined solutions to keep operations running. Orders must be filled and shipped, queries and RFPs answered, POs and bills processed and vendors paid on time so their supply chain and cash flow don’t suffer, let alone become irreparably damaged. It’s becoming increasingly clear that an essential part of this adjustment is to improve accounts payable efficiency.
It’s a goal most organizations strive for even in normal times, albeit with admittedly mixed results. When the economy is stressed, it’s even more important to get the most out of your Accounts Payable process and truly future-proof it. You could argue that 2021 is a not-so-gentle nudge to finally get your digital transformation under way.
Having the right tools at your disposal and reaping their full range of benefits will go a long way toward ensuring business success and providing satisfaction on many levels. Accounts Payable automation pays a handsome dividend when it works because it accomplishes quite a lot. Invoices are automatically ingested, intelligently indexed, routed and GL-coded, swiftly flagged for exceptions and approved without delays so they can be paid electronically and securely archived in the cloud. And all of that can happen with as little human intervention as possible.
Why so much is at stake with the Accounts Payable process
Now add to that list the capability to leverage AI to sift and scour your paperwork to surface emerging business insights. This kind of financial intelligence is valuable beyond short term tasks such as locking in discounts, catching duplicates and avoiding late fees because it lets companies improve their overall cash management. That’s why improving Accounts Payable efficiency should be high up on every company’s list of priorities for 2021.
The advantages are clear, but why exactly is the accounts payable process one of the highest-stake tasks for any modern business?
Because far too many companies still rely on time-consuming, error-prone and expensive manual processes. They receive invoices -- sometimes hundreds, often thousands of them -- in the mail, have to open and sort through them before they might be scanned and digitized, or they manually enter the data into their various ERP systems. Every step of the process, mistakes can sneak in and erroneous submissions can wend their way through to the approval stage. Mistakes and errors that have financial consequences.
Reducing the Costs of the Accounts Payable Process From $9 to $3
Even if nothing goes wrong -- and that’s a big if -- it costs $9.12 on average to manually process an invoice and it entails a cycle-time of several weeks, exposing a company to the risk of missing payments and incurring late fees. In some cases, processing an invoice can even cost up to $15.
Wasting time and money this way has secondary effects that might not be obvious at first glance. We’re talking wasted opportunities to optimize cash management, boost team morale and also improve the relationship with vendors. In the long run, it pays to bring suppliers into the AP loop so they know where their invoices are and feel they are part of the process.
Now it’s time for a quick reality check. Ask yourself:
Does it take your team more than four days to process an invoice?
Is it costing you more than to process a single invoice?
Do you have to manually verify if an invoice reflects exactly what your company ordered before you process a vendor's invoice for payment?
If that scenario sounds painfully familiar and your accounts payable process seems complicated and overwhelming, let’s explore a better way to handle invoices.
How to Streamline the Accounts Payable Process in the Cloud
Streamlining the entire Accounts Payable process with a cutting-edge, cloud-based platform such as Yooz provides almost immediate improvements and tangible savings that will quickly benefit the entire company and delight the AP team.
Speed and Savings: Yooz was built to run securely in the cloud and can be up and humming along in a matter of hours or even less. And that’s true no matter whether your company has just one office or is handling invoices and expense reports from many locations, including an international footprint. It’s the intelligent and powerful way to receive invoices in any format, since artificial intelligence capabilities enable Yooz to read and understand every invoice word by word, amount by amount. The software learns as you go and recognizes each vendor’s particular document templates, getting smarter with every invoice it sees, GL codes and routes for approval.
The results speak for themselves. Yooz customers spend on average $3 per invoice and cut their cycle time from weeks to mere hours. A company that processes 250 invoices a month, for instance, can cut its annual processing costs from $27,360 to $5,460, or generate $21,900 in recurring savings. You can use our savings calculator to learn more. What’s more, Accounts Payable automation opens up additional avenues for savings such as locking in discounts for early payment and enjoying dynamic rebates.
Transparency: Having access to continuously improved machine-learning features translates into better and more timely insights for the Accounts Payable department and the entire organization. Locating an invoice to check an exception, hunting down duplicates or matching invoices with purchase orders becomes as easy as using a regular search engine in your browser. Filing, retrieval and audits are no longer a headache, and authorized users can perform searches where and whenever they need to across the entire landscape of submitted invoices. The data that accumulates over time can be analyzed and visualized, too, to make smarter decisions about optimizing cash flow and supply or negotiating better terms with partners.
Mobility: As long-term working from home mandates have made clear, a modern business needs to be resilient and shock-proof to keep on humming even when the office sits idle. With Yooz, team members are no longer stuck with a backlog of paper-based processes while WFH. If invoices live and are processed in the cloud, the people you authorize can view and approve documents from any device, anywhere, anytime. The same goes for your vendors who can use a customized portal to submit and track their invoices without tying up Accounts Payable staff to answer queries.
Mobility in the larger sense means that your AP experts are freed from performing repetitive tasks. Leaving those chores to smart automation lets the team focus on the areas where experienced humans really add value, say cultivating relationships with vendors and partners or driving ongoing process innovation in their domain.
Since it’s the Accounts Payable pros who work with Yooz every day and become familiar with its superpowers, they will be the ones to make the platform even more powerful over time. And their dedicated support counterparts at Yooz will make sure every promising idea is heard and incorporated. A cloud-based system, after all, never stops innovating for its users.
Zero Risk: A cutting-edge platform to improve your accounts payable process should liberate your business in many ways. To be free to pursue ideas on how to grow the business, how to do more with less, how to choose and update the technology and tools that suit your needs and business processes. Since Yooz is a cloud-based solution, it’s inherently safer and more secure to store and process invoices than with an on-premise solution (yes, some smaller shops still rely on spreadsheets on a desktop with all the well-documented vulnerabilities).
Automating the Accounts Payable Process with Yooz -- a Zero Risk Proposition
On a more fundamental level, there’s no vendor lock-in with Yooz since we bill our customers per use per month and give them the freedom to cancel at any time. And zero risk means Yooz plays well with almost any ERP and financial software out there, from Sage Intacct and Intuit Quickbooks to Microsoft Dynamics GP. Our platform easily and seamlessly integrates with more than 250 of the most popular software offerings.
Making the journey to improve your accounts payable process and in the end achieve end-to-end automation has never been easier, thanks to Yooz. It’s a journey that pays for itself and will get your organization ready for the future. While we realize the current business climate is trying, it also offers a unique chance to make that leap. Let Yooz be the catalyst to change your company’s Accounts Payable process and turn it from a cost center into a profit contributor.