Ten to twelve days. That’s how long it takes a company in the US to process a single invoice. It’s a statistic that highlights the enormous amounts of time and money involved in performing a basic yet vital back-office task.
Organizations on average spend 32 hours each month handling vendor invoices, and when we polled more than 1,000 financial and accounting decision makers, almost half told us the pandemic has made matters worse because it had a “significant to extreme impact” on their ability to process invoices on time.
Unless, that is, they embraced automated invoice processing. Using a cloud-based platform lets companies of any size and in any industry streamline their entire invoice-to-pay process with maximum efficiency gains but as little human intervention as possible. As market researcher Ardent Partners found in its most recent report “The State of ePayables 2021,” getting the invoice-to-pay workflow right is crucial for the entire purchase-to-pay cycle. Not only does it compress cycle time down from 10 or more to just 3.3 days, it also has tangible benefits for the entire business. It “...allows Best-in-Class AP groups to take advantage of more early payment discounts [and] frees staff to assist or support in more strategic financial activity. Invoice-processing speed remains a core KPI from which to gauge the effectiveness of vital AP competencies.”
Automation Makes Invoice Payment Easy, Fast, and Secure
Those advantages add up quickly and affect the bottom-line in multiple ways. That’s why a growing number of companies are jumpstarting initiatives to make their invoice to payment process digital and automated. As we report in our first “State of Automation in Finance” report, almost one in five organizations have adopted fully automated invoice processing.
How invoices are captured, read, and routed until payment can be initiated isn’t rocket science. All it takes is a platform like Yooz that has perfected the process in more than a decade of R&D efforts. After capturing and extracting the relevant information from more than 100 million invoices from a million-plus vendors, Yooz offer unmatched simplicity, speed, and security to usher an invoice through your organization until the supplier sees the payment show up in their account.
It starts with lightning-fast and reliable capture. No matter in what format an invoice comes in - physical mail, via fax, as an email attachment or as an electronic submission through a self-service supplier portal - Yooz can ingest the document and read it. All crucial data points, from invoice and PO numbers to amounts, due dates and bank account and tax information are captured by the platform.
Machine Learning Powers the Future of Invoice Payment
The second marker on the sprint from invoice-to-pay is the automated review process. A combination of robotic process automation (RPA) augmented by an additional layer of powerful machine-learning algorithms understands what’s in each invoice. The platform will automatically GL-code the invoice, match it to an existing PO, and flag irregularities that would otherwise slip through or cause time-consuming reviews.
Using the latest technologies that are always pushed to every organization means that you’re working with state-of-the-art tools for smart purchase-to-pay automation. Straight-through processing dramatically reduces the amount of time and money Accounts Payable (AP) staff has to spend on menial, repetitive tasks such as shuffling paper, sorting faxes, entering amounts, or even just maintaining files.
Instead, they have their hands and heads free to add real human value to the workflow: dig deeper into invoices that are flagged as exceptions and invest their precious time into vendor relationships. A quarter of AP staff’s time, after all, is wasted on fielding client and customer inquiries and chasing down invoices.
Invoices Handled Right, From Purchase to Payment
It doesn’t have to be this way. Yooz is up and running in under an hour and able to correctly read north of 80% of all incoming invoices right from the start without any prior configuration. As the platform sees more vendor invoices, it quickly expands its knowledge and understanding of even the most unusual invoice formats.
If paying an invoice on time to capture all discounts and avoid late fees is the finish line, Yooz lets you get there in record time and with minimum cost. Processing costs per invoice drop by around 80%, falling from $10.95 to just $2.25, as Ardent Partners discovered when reviewing best-in-class AP department that are leveraging the power of Yooz.
Onward to marker three, the approval of an invoice. Smart workflows allow each organization can easily tweak to approve or reject an invoice. If the same-day payment of invoices is your goal, we got you covered. The software will transfer each invoice to the right people in the right order for approval and frees management from being chained to their desk to do so. A mobile interface works on smartphones and tablets, so invoices can be viewed and approved from anywhere, anytime.
Approve Invoices From Anywhere, Initiate Payments Automatically
Speeding up the process was never more important than during months of work-from home policies which led to thinned-out staff in the office and major backlogs. Companies that didn’t implement digital automation were struggling with piles of unopened mail, a slew of emails asking about outstanding payments, and having to deal with serious cash-flow troubles if they were acting as suppliers themselves.
We’re almost at the finish line, initiating payment of an invoice. Yooz empowers organizations with paying vendors right from the same intuitive interface. Suppliers can be onboarded with a single email address and have to make a one-click selection of their preferred payment method (virtual card, ACH, eCheck or traditional paper check if they want to).
The system handles the rest automatically, so AP staff only have to pick the invoice amount, payment schedule (manual or automatic) and whether they want individual or batch payments. Even better, with the new YoozPay module, vendors can be paid by virtual credit card. YoozPay brings the convenience of end-to-end automation that we’re accustomed to from our consumer transactions to the business payments world.
Not only does payment by virtual card provide vendors with their funds instantly. It also adds another layer of detail for enhanced security by way of multiple checks and it creates an improved audit trail through more granular transactions. Last but not least, payment by virtual credit card generates cash back for your organization with every invoice paid. Who would have imagined that invoices you pay could actually turn into a revenue stream?
How to Turn Invoice Payments into a New Revenue Stream
This new revenue stream can add up to several thousand dollars a year even for small companies that process a few hundred invoices a month. It’s one way to turn a traditional cost center into a tangible value driver for the entire organization.
There’s a bonus round, too, for racing through the entire invoice-to-pay track in record time. Yooz will automatically connect with the financial software or ERP system of choice, reconcile the just-paid invoice with the matching PO and update its payments status.
This plug-and-play functionality currently exists for more than 250 of the most popular ERP packages, and new connectors are added weekly. It’s high time to say good-bye to managing the invoice-to-pay process in a spreadsheet. Automation means switching from costly typos to competitive tempo.
Invoice Payment Comes with a Bonus: Financial Intelligence
We’ve slashed processing costs, compressed cycle time, knocked out errors, exceptions and fraud. But here’s the real trophy waiting at the end of this victory lap: gaining real-time, actionable insights from things you have to do anyway, paying invoices. Since all documents are securely stored in the cloud, you gain instant visibility and will no longer lose documents. Not to mention no longer paying storage costs and lugging boxes around.
Everything you want to know is just a quick search across all invoices away, either by simple keyword or by defining multiple search criteria. Documents can be classified in dynamic folders and assembled with a “digital staple” any way an organization wants to optimize them.
What you get in return is financial intelligence, powered and constantly enhanced one invoice and one payment at a time. It lets any business monitor its financial health, optimize its cash flow - and stay on their vendors’ best side. It literally pays off to never pay late and keep communications open through a self-service vendor portal. A live reporting dashboard gives you the power to negotiate discounts and make sure your supply chain will run as smoothly as possible.
The race to automate invoice processing is on, and Yooz gives you the engine to do it with unmatched speed and security. Are you ready to floor the pedal and take that victory lap?