When you’re running a business—whether it’s a small business, startup, an entrepreneurial venture, or otherwise—improving cash flow and getting paid/paying vendors are crucial to your success. Accounts Payable (AP) processes are changing and evolving with the times.
The increase in remote work and reliance on technology to accomplish certain tasks is pushing AP further into the digital world. As it does so, it’s simultaneously creating a need for using cloud-based automation (using specialized tools to automate processes within the cloud) to become the norm for AP processes—especially when it comes to invoices.
With this shift in technology and how we do business in today’s world, it’s more critical to consider using such tools to improve your operation’s efficiency. Here are five benefits of using invoice automation at your organization.
Reduce or Eliminate Paper Invoices
Getting buried in paperwork is not a great—or very efficient—way to do business. So, why switch to electronic invoicing in the first place? To begin with, it helps reduce fees and enable more control over the invoicing process with your regular and top suppliers as well as the more infrequently used ones.
Invoicing is generally very focused on using paper. With that comes the need for data entry and tracking across both the supplier and customer systems. That can be time consuming and hold up excessive human resources and personnel. To further compound the issue, invoices can come in several different formats.
Automating these processes, especially by leveraging the cloud as a storage and retrieval resource, can eventually reduce or eliminate paper invoicing entirely. This means that your financial department will be able to enjoy a completely paperless AP process. As a bonus, automation is also great for improving cash flow because things are paid on time, tracked appropriately, and cost significantly less than dealing with paper (touchless billing and invoicing see to that detail).
Reduce Processing Errors
Processing errors can be a headache. In many accounts payable departments, everything from approval to coding is usually done manually. This can generate errors on the invoices and without the use of reporting, your AP specialists won’t spot a problem until it’s too late. Using powerful cloud billing and invoicing software, you can automatically check for errors and prevent them in the first place with automatic invoice management.
This not only reduces invoice processing errors, but actually frees up your AP team to help add their expertise to other parts of the process and spend less time poring over reports or invoices looking for errors.
Duplicate invoices can be troublesome for any business. When a duplicate payment gets made, it can end up costing your organization more in the long run. You should have some way to watch for these. First, you should understand how they happen in the first place.
Most of the time, it’s because invoices are being sent from multiple sources like fax and snail mail. Centralizing invoice sourcing – using a single hub for all invoice processing – helps stop duplicates considerably. Cloud automation can handle this task as it uses a single-source method to handle all invoices from creation to payment.
Another benefit to automation is the ability to detect fraud. Real-time fraud detection can often be built into an AP automation software suite. It usually works by using artificial intelligence to audit your company’s spend. As it audits your invoices and reports, it can flag suspicious transactions and provide insight into any strange or risky spend/spend risk throughout the organization.
It goes a step further by identifying compliance issues/violations and intercepting fraudulent payments so your AP department doesn’t have to worry about money leaving or coming in without prior authorization and ensuring proper invoicing procedures.
Better Control Over Procurement
Procurement is one of the most critical parts of many business processes. If you integrate invoicing and procurement together at your organization, you can gain even greater control over your company spending. An easy to use system allows both suppliers and your business to implement a mutually beneficial strategy for both sides.
You get the benefit of real-time spend monitoring throughout the requisition, invoicing, and procurement while the supplier benefits from faster payments and improved relationships. Ultimately, introducing cloud-based automation for invoicing and procurement can create smoother operations across all facets of your organization as it transitions successfully into the future.