How Businesses Are Thriving In Accounts Payable

July 23, 2019

Travis McCallum

How Businesses Are Thriving In Accounts Payable

I wash my dishes by hand.  They tend to pile up in the sink after several days of neglect. This dirty amalgamation of plates, forks, and pans sneer viciously at me every time I swing by for a water refill. Another cup added; the pile begins to teeter with the promise of broken ceramic if left unattended.

Enough is enough.

Cleaning dishes is a necessity we all go through and the process is always the same.  First, you separate the sink into two parts: the rinsing and washing aisles.  Just like an assembly line you take one dish item at a time and wet it down properly before dousing it in a pool of soapy water. Second, you grab the bristle brush, drench it with a lavender scented soap and scrub thoroughly.  Third, you re-rinse the dish in its original aisle and give it a nice shine. Finally, you grab a towel and dry the dish before placing it on a flat surface to air itself out.

Sound familiar to another process that begins with an S and ends with an R?

Given the number of repeatable steps you do for every single dish, wouldn’t it be nice if instead of manually putting in the work you could automate the whole process?

If you are thinking of Josephine Cochran’s invention the dishwasher, then you already know how much easier automation makes life for you.

The most time-consuming tasks for businesses are their invoicing activities. Their accounts payable departments are DROWNING in invoices to process from all manner of vendors. According to a study done by iPayables, large businesses reported an average of 22,039 invoices are processed monthly. How much time does your team spend on a single invoice?

Factoring in direct costs (postage), indirect costs (employee time) and hidden costs (invoice lag), the manual operation of the invoicing process is a huge time suck for your employees and it affects their morale in a big way.

Like the dishwasher example, digital transformation in robotic process automation (RPA) is enabling businesses across the globe to solve this looming problem. Learn how companies are using invoice automation (IA) to save money and time in their daily operations.

Simplify Your Work

James is the CFO of a medium-sized business that sells design & marketing services to other businesses. He is in charge of managing the financial actions of the company, one very important action being the cash flow.

When accounts payable receives an invoice in the mail, the person below James must scan the document into their ERP system. Instead of manually inputting each data set into the fields, an IA solution is doing that on behalf of the employee. Besides the obvious time-saving benefit, there’s a new point I want to bring up: Accuracy.

If an employee were to accidentally input a wrong piece of information somewhere during their extraction, a small mistake would disrupt the cash flow operations and give James a big headache. IA eliminates human error and brings peace of mind.

James is smart and he likes to have control in the transparency of automated operations. So he asks that before any invoice is completely finalized, it goes through a verification step by a human counterpart. Now all invoices get an extra level of quality assurance in their design.

Automation is user-defined with its own unique rules specific to each organization. The beauty of a custom IA process is its all-in-one approach to meet your company needs.

To further illustrate the end-process, once an invoice is approved it can be scheduled to automatically pay vendors the right amount at the right time.

Make Change Happen Yesterday

Companies are facing an enormous issue in their growth and development. They know they need a digital transformation to stay competitive, but they are stuck in existing processes. According to Research Advisory Firm Ardent Partners:

“A successful digital transformation requires many elements, including sponsorship, effort, collaboration, vision, expertise, and a supporting technology infrastructure; superior program design also remains a critical element in the speed and impact of the initiative. But more than anything, it requires the entire organization to embrace change and go ‘all in.’”

For CFOs and comptrollers, they must prove that AP is considered a core enterprise function, one which must be invested in.  Fortunately, we already see huge strides across the past several years with AP recognition in:

  • Developing more effective process-led capabilities transforming tactical execution into strategic value.
  • Servicing as a valuable conduit for more strategic activities like spend management and cash management.
  • Sparking an Age of Intelligence in how the business ultimately perceives the output of the AP function.

To learn more about invoice automation and it’s varying layers, download our free eBook.

Need help getting started? Talk to an RPA expert.


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