Today, automated invoice processing is one of the inevitable technical trends for companies who want to improve their efficiency and agility, especially in today's competitive and eventful economic environment. The reasons are clear: cost reduction, process optimization, data security, regulatory compliance, and many more.
However, if you are one of the companies looking to automate your Accounts Payable and invoice processing workflows or, having already decided and considering various solution providers, you can help ensure a successful transition simply by following some basic guidelines and avoiding common pitfalls. Here are some insights to help you do exactly that.
Best practices for Accounts Payable invoicing
As you move forward on your Accounts Payable (AP) automation journey to business success, six best practices for AP invoicing are:
- Save time processing your invoices.
- Understand the AP process from both your vendors’ and suppliers’ point of view.
- Do not ignore the need for an audit trail.
- Choose an all-in-one AP automation solution provider.
- Pick an AP automation software that utilizes the top modern technologies to automate your Accounts Payable process.
- Try before you buy with a risk-free AP automation solution.
ONE: Reduce the cost and time it takes to process your invoices.
People have been telling you over and over that invoice management causes constant frustration in the accounting department and ill feelings when suppliers complain about not being paid on time. It becomes a nightmare when invoice volumes rise to an unmanageable level. So, what do you do about it? Take back control.
It is time to figure out what the cost of processing each invoice is and on average how long it takes your Accounts Payable team to accomplish it. You will most likely discover one of two things: the payable process is either very expensive and someone is sure to start wondering why you didn't do something sooner or the cost is marginal and you’re missing out on a relevant project that could have made you look good with your financial leaders.
Now that you have a better understanding of what your current process is costing you can evaluate the difference that using an Accounts Payable and invoice processing automation solution would make for your business. We've found that on average our clients are shortening their cycle times from days to just hours, giving them the ability to take advantage of early payment discounts and eliminate late payment fees. Overall cost savings with Yooz have shown that companies can save eighty percent by implementing automation into the invoice processing and payment workflow.
TWO: Seek to understand the challenges each of your vendors face using your current invoice process.
Auditing all the weak points in each process, finding past due invoices, replying to e-mails from angry suppliers — it’s like reading a medical dictionary! You end up convincing yourself that you have all the symptoms of a disease such as Acute Excellentosis, a highly addictive condition involving incurable paper consolidation, contagious double-sided reporting, and repetitive storing of invoices in cardboard file folders and metal cabinets. It is an endemic phenomenon that even the top experts in automation technology have not been able to eradicate.
One way to cure this condition is to look at your Accounts Payable process from start to finish from an outside perspective, specifically that of your vendor and supplier’. How easy is it to submit an invoice to your company? How long is the wait until each invoice is paid? How often are you late in your invoice payments? Is it easy to contact your Accounts Payable team to find out the status of an invoice? In this world of interdependency, their business cash flow can depend upon yours and its an easy way to maintain a good relationship.
Using an Accounts Payable automation solution like Yooz can ensure your vendors ease of use when submitting and processing their invoices. Invoice submissions via email directly into your Yooz platform create a paperless, cloud-based process right from the start. Smart data extraction, machine learning powered by AI, and automatic PO matching are just a few of the technologies that automate the invoice process in a highly efficient and accurate manner. Easily find the status of every invoice within your workflow with traceability and visibility offered by Yooz. And of course, the part your vendors will love the most, automate payments faster and easier.
THREE: When choosing an Accounts Payable automation solution, do not forget the need for legal compliance and audit trails.
Making Tax Digital (MTD) was created with the idea of simplifying the tax (and tracking) process. However, with ever evolving and changing regulatory guidelines and requirements applicable to the Accounts Payable process, both legal and audit problems can easily arise. One good way to prevent and combat these problems before they start is to utilize an Accounts Payable automation solution that has built in traceability and audit trails as well as the ability to automatically account for compliance regulations. Each step of the invoice workflow is recorded and immediately accessible and, thanks to modern technology, helps counter the rising attempts at fraud.
Yooz is continuously working to stay up to date on any regulatory changes and will automatically update the software for each Yooz platform without the need to request a change or interrupt your workflows.
FOUR: Choose an Accounts Payable automation solution that automates the entire Purchase-to-Pay process.
It may seem like you have to buy and implement multiple solutions to automate your invoice processing and payment workflow because really, purchase orders, electronic document management, expense reports, and invoices have nothing in common, right? Wrong! It is possible to use one solution that can automate and track the complete P2P process from purchase to payment.
Ensure you are selecting an Accounts Payable automation service provider that will integrate with an existing financial information system and/or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform. Yooz currently is able to seamlessly integrate with over 250 ERPs and information systems and is constantly adding to that list with additional integrations being created for ERPs all over the world.
FIVE: Select an Accounts Payable and invoice processing automation solution that utilizes the best technologies.
When it comes to your business, good is simply not enough. You want a system that is at the forefront of automation technology. For example, human error is a real issue when it comes to processes like manual data entry, especially when employees start to get over-worked and buried under paper. Automation was designed with repetitive, tedious tasks in mind and is exactly the place where you should let technology take over. In Accounts Payable automation there are a few top technologies your service provider should have: OCR (optical character recognition), smart data extraction, PO matching, machine learning powered by artificial intelligence, and dynamic workflows. Trust us, your employees will thank you!
The combination of all of these technologies working together automatically in the background of your invoice processing automation solution will save on those human made mistakes by automatically reading the invoice or document, pulling out the needed information and assigning it to the correct locations, validating invoices, routing them to the next person for approval, etc.
SIX: Try it before you buy it.
“Try for free!” “No risk!” “Money-back guarantee!"
Yeah, yeah. You have heard that before. It all sounds good until you read the fine print. With Yooz there are no tricky contracts to get caught in. We offer a two-week free trial to all our potential customers because we know that once you start using Yooz you will see the difference it makes in your invoice processing and Accounts Payable workflows. After that, Yooz is a monthly subscription so you are not locked into any long-term contracts nor held back in your ability to grow. You only pay for the documents you process with Yooz each month. Nothing more.
Plus included with every Yooz subscription are an unlimited number of users, workflows, and companies. There are zero IT costs, and all our updates are free and transparent. No nickel and diming with Yooz. Try for free, pay for what you Yooz, and stop anytime (we're that confident in our product).
Where to go from here?
These were just six of the most basic best practices that you should keep in mind when looking to improve your Accounts Payable and invoice processing workflow. There are in fact more - 16 more to be exact. We cover them all in our satirical whitepaper, How to Mess Up Your AP Automation Project, available for download now. And for tips on how NOT to mess up, we have developed a checklist for you so you'll be prepared for your conversations with AP automation solution providers you may be considering.