If somebody had you guess how old the term the “paperless office” is, how far would you go back? If you’re thinking the 1960s, that’s right. that’s when the dawn of computer terminals got technologists excited to envision a day when a business would no longer need to print, mail, and file documents.
Fast forward to 2021. “Paperless” is admittedly still a vision, albeit much closer at hand. That’s particularly true in accounting. More and more businesses are getting rid of paper when handling purchase orders and invoices, speeding up their workflow and reaping the benefits of a paperless Accounts Payable process.
Going paperless comes with a sizable list of benefits for every business, no matter what size. For starters, there’s the physical aspect or nuisance, of having to lug pounds and pounds of documents around the office for processing and review, piling them into boxes for proper storage and later digging them up again for audits or when hunting for a specific invoice, payment slip or canceled check.
Yet it’s about much more than just banishing paper from your desks and clearing out the filing cabinets. The main benefits of a paperless Accounts Payable workflow are higher speed, accuracy, efficiency, lower costs and optimized cash management, but more on that later.
First, let’s look more closely at how to make accounts payable paperless. It’s crucial to have a strategy in place before going paperless in your small business. A winning approach comprises:
- Getting to know and evaluating your existing processes
- Rethinking and streamlining your workflow, including how you connect with your partners and vendors
- Selecting the right Accounts Payable tool to use
We’re talking a cloud-based Accounts Payable automation tool such as Yooz that lets you accomplish all your goals for a smooth paperless Accounts Payable process across all departments in record time, with minimum hassle and sizable savings.
The Right Software Enables Every Company to Master a Paperless Accounts Payable Process
Answering the question of how to make Accounts Payable paperless isn't that hard: going paperless starts and stops with powerful software that automates the whole workflow. Picture what’s happening now and how it could be streamlined. A truly paperless process means no more opening envelopes, no more manually keying in amounts, and no more mailing invoices or checks around for approval and payment. But, we’ll admit, that’s the end state.
Most businesses are already familiar with using optical character recognition (OCR) technology to scan incoming documents and convert them into digital files. What used to be a fairly simple capture process has come a long way. Yooz, the leader in Accounts Payable automation, has capitalized on decades of pioneering research in OCR to build something novel and powerful: a cloud-based engine that not only scans an invoice but actually understands every amount, number and word on that page, no matter in what format it’s submitted.
You can think of it as the great equalizer that will streamline your Accounts Payable workflow from one day to the next. Invoices or purchase orders that arrive in the mail or in an email attachment will make their way into the approvals pipeline just like invoices that are born digital. The machine-learning algorithms that read and parse your documents become smarter over time as they see more and more invoices.
Now, let’s assume your company is still almost exclusively dealing with paper invoices and hardly has any vendors that submit their charges electronically. How, in a situation like this, would going paperless be feasible? And - just as important - is it worth it for the bottom line considering the potential expense to switch over?
Going Paperless? With Yooz, Every Business Can Transform It’s Accounts Payable Workflow
The short answer is yes and yes.
We know that for many businesses, creating a paperless Accounts Payable process is a work in progress. Some still rely on a mix of measures and tools. They scan documents, key in others, or even snap pictures of invoices with their smartphones. And what do you do with existing paper documents while you're converting to a paperless office? No problem, we say! Yooz is made for this journey and will accompany your business as you gradually advance from some to zero paper.
Yooz has refined the best way to assess your existing workflow and get any business on the track to a paperless Accounts Payable future as fast and as painlessly as possible. Scanning documents or ingesting the ones that are already digital is just the starting point. Intelligent robotic process automation (RPA) will take care of almost all the tedious manual chores: capturing batches of invoices or POs, making sure all data points and amounts are correct (no more typos!). Once the paper documents are captured, you can rest assured they will be stored in the cloud where they can always be retrieved.
The software will flag incorrect, suspicious, duplicate or otherwise unusual entries and submissions so your accounts payable team can review and resolve them. If, on the other hand, nothing is wrong, the Yooz software will automatically add the correct GL-coding, match PO to invoice and forward it to the proper person who should approve it. And they can do that from any device, anywhere. We call that not only paperless but basically touchless processing as humans only need to step in when the superior firepower of the human brain is necessary.
The almost touchless process is intended to be end-to-end, from procurement to payment. Once an invoice is approved inside the Yooz platform, payment can be electronically initiated without you ever having to cut and mail a paper check again. Vendors can check the status of their submission online, as well, freeing your staff from fielding calls and hunting down documents.
No wonder then that the savings of going paperless materialize almost immediately after you get started. Yooz is entirely cloud-based, so it can be turned on in a matter of hours and runs in any browser, no matter whether a business has one or multiple locations.
It’s also transparently priced by invoice volume and integrates with more than 250 of the most popular finance and accounting systems and software packages. That’s why we say that making Accounts Payable paperless comes with zero vendor lock-in and zero risk.
So, what are the savings that come with making Accounts Payable paperless? They can be summarized with speed, costs, accuracy, and efficiency. Having software handle the tedious work means cutting processing time and processing costs. Our customers report that their cycle time goes down from sometimes weeks to days or less. Handling costs per invoice drop by, on average, 80 percent or even more.
On top of it, it’s easier than ever to lock in early-payment discounts and avoid late fees - all ingredients of better cash management. For a midsize business, all of this taken together means tens of thousands of dollars in savings per year. Even a small business with a few hundred invoices per year will see the impact of going paperless on its bottom line fairly quickly.
Finally, finding a document becomes a snap, too. Since Yooz indexes every invoice word for word, finding something is as easy as performing a search on the web. No more time-consuming hunts for wayward invoices or checks, let alone dreaded audits. Just ask our customers who were able to do away with rows and rows of filing cabinets altogether when they shifted their archives to the cloud.
Paperless Power: How Accounts Payable Teams Can Become Revenue Contributors
With the help of a platform such as Yooz, the Accounts Payable function can quickly morph from a cost center into a revenue contributor. Even better, it can become a role model for efficiency for the rest of the organization. That’s because every invoice that enters the system becomes a piece of valuable information or financial intelligence.
Going paperless, in other words, jumpstarts the digital transformation for the entire Accounts Payable function. Having real-time insights into who gets paid when, who might be able to wait a bit and who will give you a discount for paying early is crucial info during economically trying times when business operations need to build resilience against outside shocks.
Are you ready to step out of the back office, shake off the old paper trail, and instead transform your operations into a hub of true business intelligence?
Then Yooz AP automation solution is the one proven tool that can help you in two important ways. First, it will immediately save you time and money, invoice by invoice. And second, it will provide you with an intuitive high-level overview of the relevant trends that are hiding in plain sight right in your documents. It’s a surprisingly easy way to unlock tangible savings and make your entire company future-proof.