If you’re reading this, you’re probably researching Accounts Payable Automation as a viable means to streamline and optimise your accounting processes.
And if so, you’re in good (and growing) company — many businesses are starting to see the value in automation and have begun their own Accounts Payable software comparisons.
The accounting software market will have a global value of $11.8 billion by 2026, increasing by 8.6% per year. But for all its projected growth, approximately 45% of SMEs still fall into the “novice” category of Accounts Payable efficiency, which means they're still entering data, coding invoices and routing processes manually according to this Payments Journal article).
This is unfortunate because AP automation is a cost-effective solution for human error and process inefficiency — and one that can greatly benefit businesses of all sizes.
As the future beckons, we take a look at the history of Accounts Payable and how automation is set to revolutionise the accounting industry. This information will arm you with valuable insights to begin your own Accounts Payable software comparison
The past, present and future
No Accounts Payable comparison would be complete without taking a look back to see how far we’ve come. Before automation, tedious, time-consuming administrative tasks like manual client invoice processing, approvals and purchase order matching were the order of an accountant’s day. Paper-based systems contributed to slower transactions, higher storage costs, human error and disappearing documents, leading to dissatisfied vendors when invoices went unpaid. Change was clearly needed...
Today, we’re in a better position. The rapid evolution of artificial intelligence, cloud-based automation tool and machine learning technology has resulted in a wealth of innovative solutions being introduced into the market. Essentially, AP automation leverages intelligent technology to streamline and optimise the invoice process for accounting departments and companies.
Businesses are now cutting purchase-to-pay costs, boosting efficiency and reactivity, and enjoying faster processing time. Not to mention that less time spent handling and searching for paper documents means employees can focus on tasks that contribute to business growth in a tangible way.
What are the benefits of AP Automation?
A comparison of Accounts Payable software and manual processes exposes the inefficiencies of the latter. Whereas manual AP relies on accountants’ typing skills for data entry, AP automation drives more than £10.47 savings per invoice and reduces invoice processing and approval workflow time by 50 percent (for more statistics on AP automation, check out our whitepaper).
Other notable benefits include:
- Improved tracking and piloting activity.
- Quick, hassle-free management of account closing periods.
- 24/7 access to digital invoices, account data and analytical data, using any network device that’s configured for your system.
- Commitment and expenditure tracking lead to improved budget monitoring and forecasting capacity.
- End-to-end traceability and transparency of interventions make for a reliable, secure accounting process.
Another benefit of AP automation is that it can improve business relations with vendors. For this reason alone, your comparison of Accounts Payable software needs to be thorough, in order to find the best fit for your business.
What to look for in an AP automation solution?
Before you begin comparing potential Accounts Payable solutions, ensure you have the following:
- A clear understanding of all invoice validation circuits, including workflow complexity and interdependence.
- An accurate idea of the volume of invoices you expect to receive.
- A precise set of numbers for costs and processing time related to invoice management.
Once you’ve laid the foundations and have agreed on clear objectives, you can start your Accounts Payable software comparison to find the ideal solution. When researching, consider the following:
Coexistence: An AP automation solution needs to work with your existing systems. Before committing, make sure it can integrate easily with your ERP, CRM and accounting solutions.
Full process and workflow coverage: Your platform must cover all processes and workflows to maximise performance. To automate the data entry and invoice validation process effectively, the solution must be primed for multichannel capture from all document types in multiple formats.
End-to-end traceability: The solution must have user authentication mechanisms in place, as well as secure classification and electronic archiving for all operations.
Always-on customer support: Whether it’s onboarding or platform expansions, there will always be hiccups. This is why the supplier needs to provide top-class support and assistance, which includes an easily accessible hotline and web chat for ongoing training or quick troubleshooting.
Yooz delivers the highest automation rate by industry standards combined with extreme simplicity to help accounting teams and finance leaders tackle their challenges from purchase-to-payment.