Let’s assume your organization has already gone (more or less) paperless when handling its invoices, purchase orders and expense reports. It’s also made some strides toward digitizing the workflow that follows in the Accounts Payable department: automatically, correctly and quickly coding, routing and approving documents and invoices. So far, so good. Now comes the third and final part of a successful Accounts Payable automation process: getting rid of the manual process of cutting and mailing checks and instead initiating electronic payment automation. Automating and streamlining your invoice and payment process from end to end, or from purchase to payment (P2P), is the smart way forward, for several reasons. They revolve around cost and time savings, increased accuracy and overall productivity gains.
Checks, one could argue, are a stubborn remnant of the old economy when everybody carried a checkbook. Heaps of them had to be collected, deposited at a bank’s branch, stuffed into bags, trucked and flown around the U.S. to be correctly eventually processed by the issuing bank. It took days or even weeks before they cleared, creating uncertainty and cash flow worries for vendors on both ends of the transaction. Hence the dreaded excuse: “The check’s in the mail”.
Accounts Payable Automation Software Lifts the Burden of Paper Invoices and Paper Checks
Paper checks still consume too much time and budget for businesses. As various experts have calculated, writing and processing checks adds up in labor costs, processing fees, and hidden markups. By one estimate, in 2018 alone, North American businesses processed more than $18 trillion worth in paper checks, which cost them a whopping $550 billion because of delays, labor, and errors. And that tally doesn’t even include the damage done by outright fraud. The FBI estimates that more than a million checks are forged every day, adding up to almost $19 billion in losses per year.
Now for the good news: Just as consumers have discovered the convenience and overall security of electronic payment, driven by the trifecta of credit cards, the advent of smartphones and more recently by the pandemic’s emphasis on contactless transactions, more and more companies of all sizes are switching to a paperless invoice and payment process to shave off time and costs.
In fact, when market researchers from Ardent Partners surveyed the “State of ePayables” in 2020, they found that fewer than half, or only 41 percent of businesses currently use a complete purchase to payment automation solution. Some businesses receive invoices as attachments, others automatically GL-code and route them, some pay electronically, while some do it all. Automation, in other words, means many different things to many different companies, with only a minority having all the pieces in place to automate the most efficient and effortless way.
Complete Purchase to Payment Process Automation Software Solution
There is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to invoice and payment automation that has a business covered from end to end. A surefire way to address all those pain points in one place is Yooz, the proven leading Accounts Payable automation solution. Its platform can draw on decades of innovation in document and invoice capture, invoice processing and smart routing to provide the most automation in one solution.
Working with an entirely cloud-based automation solution means almost instant time and cost savings, more accuracy and higher productivity, plus gaining a competitive edge with real-time financial intelligence. Your invoices tell a story that the whole organization can benefit from if they only saw it. With Yooz, invoice and payment process automation solution, they can -- and then act on it.
So let’s quickly go through the key steps of Accounts Payable invoice and payment process automation where Yooz and the steps in payment automation where its partners CSI, Snapcheck and Checkbook can help. An Accounts Payable automation system, for starters, has to answer several crucial questions to make sense for your business:
- How many invoices is your organization dealing with, and how much could you save with automation? Yooz has a handy calculator to get an answer.
- Ask yourself what your team would do if you automated part or all of their workflow? How about dealing with important exceptions and high-value vendor and supplier relationships.
- Does Accounts Payable automation scale well to accommodate your growth or absorb disruptions to normal operations in times of crisis? Yes to both, more on that later.
An Invoice Processing and Payment Automation System Works Well When It Runs in the Cloud
Yooz lives in the Cloud and runs in any browser, so switching is a quick and easy process. The savings are almost instant, with cycle times and processing costs per invoice dropping by 80% or more.
It starts with the purchase process where you can set up a workflow to automatically generate and approve PR/PO documents and then manage and monitor budget and deliveries.
Step 2 is about capturing all your invoices in one place, no matter whether they’re scanned, emailed, imported or arrive via EDI or mobile device. Yooz will capture them from every channel and automatically “read” the relevant data, word by word, figure by figure. Since it uses AI-based data extraction, no human touch is required to automatically apply the correct GL coding and PO matching.
Even if a vendor were to submit dozens of invoices in one go, the smart technology in the Yooz solution can automatically distinguish one invoice or PO from the next and handle them accordingly. Intelligent and customizable workflows mean quicker approvals and fewer errors to get an invoice approved for payment -- even on a mobile device.
This is where the trusted payment partners come in that provide a reliable, affordable and scalable solution to initiate payments. Florida-based CSI is one of them, as are Snapcheck and Checkbook. They offer different solutions to become as paperless as possible but they have the same goal in mind: to make sure your business pays its invoices on time to maintain good relationships with vendors, avoid late fees, lock in early payment discounts or even negotiate dynamic rebates, and keep fraud to a minimum.
Accounts Payable Automation Software Gives Companies Many Options to Initiate and Automate Digital Payment
CSI offers a wide variety of ways to settle invoices, ranging from ACH or Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments that are pulled directly from a checking account, to wire and credit card processing. One growing area for digital payment is virtual credit cards.
Imagine having a 16-digit credit card number that only exists digitally, not embossed on a real piece of plastic. These cards provide organizations more control over several parameters: the amount, merchant type, expiration date, location of use and, of course, enhanced security. Since these cards are digital only and can be single-use, the risk of loss, misuse, and theft goes down significantly.
What’s more, every transaction and payment can be more easily tracked and reconciled for accounting purposes. That comes in handy since the Yooz platform can be tightly integrated with an organization’s ERP or finance software. Yooz currently plugs right into more than 250 such software packages, making it easy to analyze and automate the entire invoice and payment process and optimize your cash management.
Snapcheck, as the name implies, gives Yooz customers the option to reap the benefits of a digital check platform without completely leaving familiar territory of writing checks. Users can issue and receive virtual checks without being exposed to fraud and delays. The company says its platform is “marrying all the familiarity of traditional business checks with the safety, speed, and security of modern payment technology.” Going digital and payment automation means instant delivery. As soon as the Accounts Payable team clears a payment and hits “send,” a digital check arrives at the recipient. With more than 4,000 banks in the US connected to the payment platform, there really is no longer an excuse to physically mail a check.
Yooz customers can also select to settle their invoices with Checkbook, a digital payment platform based in Silicon Valley. It supports a variety of deposit options, depending on how the recipient prefers to get paid, from ACH settlements and virtual cards all the way to printing physical checks. Checkbook offers ‘Instant Pay’ as one option, which allows users to send bulk checks within 18 seconds and lets recipients deposit funds right to their bank account.
Because all three payment platforms are integrated with Yooz through APIs, the process from purchase to payment is always as seamless, fast and transparent as possible.
Automating Your Invoice and Payment Process Boosts Efficiency and Productivity
In the end, Accounts Payable invoice and payment process automation systems are not only about receiving invoices, processing and paying them on time, but about something bigger: taking the organization’s efficiency and productivity to the next level.
Yooz scales as a business grows, no matter if it expands from one to multiple locations or simply increases its volume of invoices. It also enables true business resilience or the capability to keep going, even when the “office” has to remain closed and most staff members are working from home for long periods of time. Automating your invoice and payment process can be a key driver for a successful digital transformation. All a remote team needs to do its job is a tablet or smartphone.
Every document and invoice that is read the smart technology understands and indexes word by word, amount by amount, account number by account number, adds to a growing body of financial intelligence. It’s information and knowledge from which every department can profit. Based on an intuitive dashboard presenting key metrics in real-time, an organization can achieve many things beyond speed and accuracy if they choose to automate their invoice and payment process. It can optimize its cash management, find new, often overlooked opportunities for cost savings or increased sales, and the team can confidently negotiate with the trusted partners it always pays on time.