7 mins read

Paperless Accounts Payable

How To Win With a Paperless Invoice Approval System

by Yooz on 06.28.2021

Benefits of a Paperless Invoice Approval System

Not too long ago, airplanes were routinely carrying bags and bags of paper checks around the country that had to be forwarded to the issuing banks and processed. Luckily, a growing number of consumers and companies have switched to paperless payments, meaning that from purchase to payment little to no paper changes hands, whether it's an order or a check being cut and mailed.


Convenience aside, a paperless accounts payable process has many financial and even strategic advantages for an organization. That’s particularly true for the automotive space, where dealerships often have a large geographical footprint and their general managers want to focus on strategic priorities to drive profitability at their dealerships rather than deal with heaps of purchase orders, expenses reports and invoices.


Yooz, the leader in accounts payable automation, has been innovating this paperless AP process for decades. After having processed more than 100 million invoices for our clients around the world, we can say with confidence that a completely paperless invoice approval system is possible and achievable for everyone. Digital transformation was never easier and it can quickly save precious time and money to boost efficiency, productivity and job satisfaction at any dealership.


5 Steps of a Paperless Accounts Payable Process


Let’s look at the five steps of paperless invoice approval that make a difference:


  • The automation experience begins with invoice capture after a purchase. A powerful optical character recognition (OCR) engine is the first step to transform a static image of an invoice into actionable data that will enhance your ERP or DMS. With Yooz, there are many ways to ingest an invoice, whether it arrives by good old mail, fax, email, or is submitted through a modern self-service vendor portal in electronic format. Beyond OCR, Yooz employs machine learning algorithms that can read, understand, and index every word, date, and amount on a page.


  • Next are three crucial steps in a touchless workflow that will require next to no human intervention. Every invoice undergoes verification, meaning it is automatically GL coded and matched with a PO to weed out erroneous submissions, duplicates and outright fraud. What’s flagged as an exception will undergo human checks.


  • After that, the system routes the document for approval to the right recipient or even multiple recipients, depending on what workflow has been set up. With Yooz, team members or managers can view and approve an invoice remotely from a mobile device of their choice. That way, even unexpected disruptions like a lockdown won’t affect your business.


  • The next step is releasing the payment. Since Yooz connects to the payment gateway of your choice, anything from initiating an instant payment to issuing an electronic check is just a click away. Paying an invoice is based on the specific parameters that a company has pre-defined, depending on details such as invoice amount or type.


  • Finally, a paperless invoice process shines through the automatic export function. A state-of-the-art platform will push all invoice data, plus the record of its accompanying path through the designated workflows to financial software such as a dealer management system or ERP. Yooz integrates with more than 250 of the most popular systems, including sage Intacct, CDK Global, Dealertrack, Netsuite, Karmak and many more.


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6 Pain Points Of NOT Having a Paperless AP Process 


Digital transformation through accounts payable automation solves tangible pain points in the accounting process that customers in the automotive space and many other industries tell us about time and again. 


There are simply too many things that can go wrong when handling paper. 


  • Shipping: Physical copies need to be collected and shipped from dealerships to the central office. The end of the month is crunchtime, when carrier bags of invoices and expense reports arrive and need to be processed. 


  • Typing: Coding errors from manually keyed invoices go up the more documents come in. Even with a few hundred invoices per week, the risks of getting amounts or other details wrong multiply. 


  • Timing: Handling paper means invoices can all too easily go missing and lead to late payments. Late fees are simply lost opportunities to save money and grow the business. 


  • Storing: Archiving all that paperwork in several places or at one central location is an expensive and expansive undertaking with its own risks. 


  • Digging: Experts have calculated that AP teams spend up to one-third of their time responding to supplier or vendor queries and hunting down invoices for a status update.


  • Wondering: Paper leads to delays and lack of information which impacts day-to-day operations. A paperless invoice approval system, on the other hand, automatically keeps track of cash flow. It delivers financial intelligence to everyone in the company. 


Here’s how Nancy Price, Director of Operations at Peterson Auto Group in Bloise, Idaho, describes her world before her company endorsed a paperless invoice approval workflow for its five dealerships handling around 2,500 checks a month. “We’d have to physically take the invoices from store to store or email them and hope that they didn’t get overlooked. Once a week, we’d do a ‘round robin’ to get the General Managers’ signatures on checks. One day, the stack would go to one manager, the next day to another. Our process felt a lot like herding cats.”


9 Ways Yooz Masters the Paperless Accounts Payable Process 


If that mad dash sounds painfully familiar, let’s imagine a dealership switches to Yooz. It’s an update that can be pulled off in little time but immediately translates into sizable cost and time savings in a short period of time:


  • A powerful recognition and extraction engine can read and understand most invoices out of the box. What’s more, it becomes smarter with every invoice it sees.


  • Customizable workflows that fit every dealership’s needs cut processing costs and cycle times by 80 percent. What took weeks can now be done in days, sometimes hours. It makes the accounting process simple and easy.


  • Errors drop significantly, with fraud and accidental double payments a thing of the past thanks to more control and visibility on transactions.


  • Late fees are no longer an issue, either. In fact, early payment discounts are within reach. What used to be a cost center will become a positive contributor to the bottom line. 


  • Finding an invoice is as easy as typing a search query into a browser window. Locating an invoice by keyword makes audits a snap.


  • Strategic decisions across the company are empowered by almost instant financial information. Cash management takes on a whole new meaning.


  • Relationships with vendors and suppliers are strengthened because they have more visibility into the purchase-to-payment pipeline without even picking up the phone.


  • Accounts payable staff is freed from repetitive tasks which are now handled by smart automation. Instead, they can focus on value-add tasks -- all the things humans are truly good at.


  • As a pure cloud-based solution, Yooz offers a secure and encrypted digital filing cabinet that never runs out of space and provides a reliable audit trail.


Here’s what two automotive clients have to say about their experience with paperless invoice approval powered by Yooz:


“Storing documents in the cloud has solved most of our pain points. Documents are easily accessible by all department managers. It’s much more secure. And we’re saving money and time by not shredding, storing, or shipping documents.”

-Jason Kleve, Controller at Transwest Automotive Group with locations throughout the US and Canada.


“Our managers tell us they don't know how they operated without Yooz before. If you're touching stacks of invoices and reviewing them every month, it's just a waste of time. I don't think we could ever go back. Our staff would just be bogged down with papers all day. AP Automation is simply a must in today’s work environment.”

-Justin Barker, President of Bruce Automotive Group


3 Reasons Why A Paperless Accounts Payable Process is a Winner  


So switching gears to run a completely paperless invoice approval system is a clear win-win. 


  • It keeps managers in the know because it not only saves time and money but turns the AP department into a revenue contributor and sends valuable, actionable insights straight to their screen. 


  • It makes the staff at dealerships happy because the dreaded paper chase becomes a digital doozy. 


  • It turns suppliers into partners because they gain the visibility they´ve been waiting for and can always find out where their approval process stands. 


Simply put, AP automation is the proven way to fire on all cylinders.


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