Automation is a beautiful thing because it works like magic and saves us time and money by improving our business management. Imagine a back office where the accounts payable team no longer has to open letters or sift through trays full of documents sent from other departments and locations, no longer has to type in invoice data and then chase colleagues for approval, and no longer has to cut checks and mail them.
That wonderful world, it turns out, is no magic at all. It’s real and available in the form of an all-in-one cloud-based platform that supercharges the AP team with automated invoice processing from purchase to payment by reducing manual processing.
In the process, their company saves 80 percent in cost per invoice and cycle time. Late payments are a thing of the past. Instead, early-payment discounts, rebates, and cash-back become the new standard.
What’s more, an automated solution means errors drop significantly, duplicates and outright fraud are caught, and what used to be a cost center very quickly becomes a contributor to the bottom line thanks to a more secure workflow.
An end-to-end platform such as Yooz automates invoice processing along the entire workflow with what’s called straight-through processing. That means unmatched speed, unrivaled accuracy and little to no human touch required.
The 5 Steps of Invoice Approval Automation
Let’s look at the five steps to make this happen.
- Capture: No matter in what format an invoice comes in, from an old-fashioned letter or fax to email attachments and EDI, Yooz will be able to read it, even recognize the templates of individual vendors. Next, it uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to automatically extract all relevant information. It saves the AP team time down the road, too, because Yooz will index all words and numbers that count. Searching for an invoice or specific amount later on is as easy as using a search engine.
- Verify: The power of cloud-based AI allows for automatic GL-coding and matching an invoice to a purchase order. Multi-way matches are the best way to catch mistakes such as wrong amounts or invoices that may have been submitted multiple times. It translates into lower exceptions and errors that would require human intervention.
- Approve: Automation works its magic in the next step, too, as each invoice is routed to the correct recipients or even multiple recipients in the order an organization sets up. Being entirely cloud-based makes it a seamless process. Managers can review and approve an invoice from anywhere, anytime, including from their mobile devices. Disruptions like remote work requirements during a pandemic are not an issue to keep things flowing.
- Pay: There’s no need to step out of an efficient workflow at this point and cut and mail paper checks. How vendors are paid not only saves money but can also create and strengthen the relationship with your network of suppliers and partners.
- Export: This last and final step also quickly pays for itself. Yooz connects to more than 250 leading financial software packages and ERP systems, ensuring that an invoice is marked as paid, creating a reliable and secure audit trail.
The 5 Benefits of Invoice Approval Automation
Taken together, automated invoice processing offers five essential benefits:
It provides companies of any size with a completely paperless AP process with almost instant ROI
It encourages supplier participation through a self-service portal
Same day invoice approval is no longer a far-off goal but a fact
Companies can capture every early-payment discounts
The whole team enjoys mobile access to approve invoices and stay in touch
But there’s a caveat. For this kind of magic to work and the savings to accumulate, all the pieces have to be in place. An end-to-end approach is the best way to win with automated invoice processing. Many companies that have begun automating their accounts payable processes often forget to pay attention to the last crucial step -- payment.
B2B Payments are Part of Invoice Approval Automation
In fact, as market researcher Ardent Partners points out in its latest annual survey “The State of ePayables 2021,” AP professionals consider manual B2B payments as one of the top five challenges. Ardent calls automating payments the “next frontier in an AP transformation” that is “finally getting the attention it deserves.”
Slightly more than half the companies they polled are already taking advantage of B2B payment solutions and another 24 percent want to get on board in the coming 12 to 24 months. This means change is happening and there’s a lot of room for improvement still when it comes to reducing costs. An AP team that “harnesses the power of both automation and rigor on the payment side of the house can drive financial value to the greater organization,” according to Ardent.
Invoice Approval Automation Gets Even Better With YoozPay
Enter YoozPay, a new add-on for the payment process. Yooz already offers partnerships with multiple popular payment providers so companies can pay vendors with the method of their choice, from ACH to electronic checks. YoozPay takes it to the next level by automating the payment process directly inside the Yooz platform. It gives companies the opportunity to earn valuable cashback with their digital invoice payment workflow.
In short, YoozPay lets an organization approve a payment, process it, confirm it and update their ERP system in one place and in one go. All the AP team has to do is select the invoice to approve, specify the full or partial amount to be paid and choose a payment method: virtual credit card, ACH, eCheck, or good old paper check if need be. YoozPay automatically handles the rest, from paying batches of invoices to following an automated or manually defined payment schedule.
This kind of purchase-to-pay automation unlocks another benefit: the power of virtual credit cards. Unlike other forms of payment, these purely digital credit cards provide higher security, a more granular and therefore better audit trail and -- best of all -- they generate a recurring revenue stream through cash-back.
How Invoice Approval Automation Earns You Money
A company processing 500 invoices a month or 6,000 a year with Yooz already saves close to 5,000 in annual processing costs compared to traditional, more labor-intensive methods. Add in YoozPay with the virtual card option, and you’re looking at thousands more in cash-back.
That’s why CFO Tech Outlook magazine recently recognized Yooz as “the smartest, most powerful and easiest-to-use cloud-based Purchase-to-Pay automation solution” that provides “unmatched savings, speed and security” to its global user base.
Or as famous science writer Arthur C. Clarke once said: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”