The Productivity Plunge: Resolving Accounts Payable Challenges with Automation

Employees working together on an automated solution

Paper invoices and manual accounts payable processes result in a soul-crushing, profit-sapping productivity drain that smothers innovation and damages your bottom line. But by taking advantage of accounts payable automation, challenges such as invoice matching, invoice routing, data entry, and lost time can be overcome with ease, leading to reduced costs, increased productivity, and more time for the mission-centric aspects of your organization. Below are two excerpts from our expert guide for accounts payable automation. For more information on developing your automation strategy and discovering your organization’s needs, check out Your Ultimate Guide to Accounts Payable Automation.

Common Accounts Payable Challenges

Accounts payables departments frequently face bottlenecks, data entry errors, and backloads in an incredibly high volume of work. With so many challenges in common, it makes sense why organizations often begin their digital transformation with accounts payable automation.

Repetitive Data Entry 

The data stored on invoices, purchase orders, and other AP documents must often be keyed into a financial system to help manage company resources. Typing this data manually can be incredibly time-consuming, taking even more time away from company-centric tasks as a result. What’s more, manually inputting this data can be incredibly error-prone, leading to setbacks, mistracked information, and more time used to remedy these mistakes.

Late and Missed Payments

With so much time spent on accounts payable-related processes and so much difficulty keeping track of the documents needed to complete them, payments to suppliers may be missed in the process. Missing payments frequently results in additional fees and weakens your business relationships with vendors, potentially causing you to miss out on deals and opportunities in the future.

Lost and Misplaced Documents

Packing slips, purchase orders, and other AP-related documents need to be filed away so that information can be referenced later, whether for communicating information to a supplier, expensing job-related services, or another administrative task. Storing these documents on paper often results in a great deal of disorganization and countless hours sifting through cabinets to find the necessary information. Likewise, storing them as PDFs leads to similar results as files are often mislabeled and misplaced. Invoices are especially prone to misplacement as they are typically printed out or emailed to a manager for approval. Once there, they are often forgotten and discarded, leading to a heavily bottlenecked approval process.

Time-Consuming Processes

Employees must often reference several documents to complete a single AP-related process. The three-way matching process, for example, ensures all parties receive what they agreed to and involves verifying and matching invoices, purchase orders, and packing slips. But when these documents are difficult to find due to cluttered file cabinets or disorganized shared drives, the processes that rely on them take much more time as a result. What’s worse, this additional time is often taken from tasks that could better benefit your business.

Advantages of Automating Accounts Payable

By automating accounts payable, you can capture data such as header footer and line item data and automate key processes such as invoice approval routing, all while reducing errors, saving time on data entry, improving access to documents, and capitalizing on early payment discounts. And with the time you save, you can put more emphasis on tasks that better benefit your business.

Improve Access to Documents

With searchable, indexed documents in an Enterprise Content Management system, organizations can access records quickly and easily from anywhere.

Shorten Process Completion Times

With less time spent referencing files and such as invoice routing and data entry completely automated, organizations can drastically shorten the paid hours it takes to complete accounts payable processes and use those hours for tasks that will better aid your business.

Take Advantage of Early Payments 

With the time saved on invoice processing, routing, and data entry, organizations can reduce costs by taking advantage of early payment discounts.

Eliminate Errors 

With index data being automatically captured and financial data being shared with other applications, employees can focus their efforts on data validation rather than spending time keying it in by hand.

Enhance Inventory Management 

With line item data capture, organizations with inventory can keep track of what’s in stock and manage costs for an entirely data-driven inventory management strategy.

How Square 9 Can Help

Square 9 Softworks is an industry-leading provider of an AI-powered intelligent document processing platform that takes the paper out of payables and makes it easier to get things done. By combining the best in enterprise content management with workflow automation tools like invoice matching and routing and OCR technology that saves time and prevents costly errors, Square 9 offers intuitive, scalable solutions that will empower your organization for years to come.

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