As we all strive to do things smarter, faster, and better, automation is a crucial component to help businesses affect tangible outcomes and change.
There is no question that the pandemic was a time of disruption for everyone on both a personal and professional level. On the business front, the work-from-home mandate during the quarantine exposed weaknesses in business operations that caused many companies to scramble and look for workarounds. Organizations with paper-based accounts payable (AP) operations were particularly hard hit. While manual processing has always been time-consuming and problematic, it quickly became untenable during the pandemic. AP staff had to go into the office, look through the mail – and sometimes on colleagues’ desks – for invoices, and then physically route them to reviewers who in turn sent them back to AP for processing. It was costly, inefficient, and a huge waste of time.
These stresses on the system, and the realization that a modern organization cannot afford to run an archaic, manual AP process, are making management receptive to tech investments and are driving AP automation.
Organizations with high levels of AP automation save at least 54% on invoice processing costs.
Data is a foundational component to drive automation. At Mint, we strive to improve data quality through accurate data capture from many sources and in the correct format when automated.
Many tools are used through different platforms and technology and the outcome is leveraging improved reporting and analytics based on a proper understanding of the context of the data.
Automation comes in small increments and involves continuous investment and improvement.
IT and accounting professionals have a corporate responsibility to their organisation to ensure financial data is secure and accurate.
Starting from a purchase order or contract and moving it into the accounting system, through one digital footprint, the process drives compliance. Our systems improve the impact, metrics, and outcomes as this area of financial systems is automated. With Microsoft technology and infrastructure, your data will be secured and safe because it’s encrypted, even at rest.
Advantages of AP automation
- Minimize human errors
- Improve supplier onboarding for secure supplier relationships
- Managing tax compliance
- Cash flow predictions and accuracy
- Controllers, accountants and CFO’s control
- Reducing time and effort on manual tasks
- Plan and leverage payments for financial benefits, such as early payments.
Examples of automation in AP
Automated data capture
OCR, as an example, shifts the first step in data capture, reduces human error, and ensures audit trails to serve the finance department. They can focus on validation and insight, more essential tasks in the business, rather than manual tasks. Processing is streamlined with automated data capture and attachments of the correct invoice to the proper transaction.
Invoice matching, vendor invoice policies and workflow automate the review process so that invoices that meet specific criteria are automatically approved, and remaining invoices are flagged for review. The result allows the controllers and accounts to focus their energy where it matters most.
Accelerate your AP digitization with the Top Trends
Hyperautomation – Automating as many processes as much possible in an organization.
Strive for touchless, straight-through automation, where no human intervention is needed.
Great User Experience is the new normal – Our current blend of the home and office, and forward-thinking organizations are working to support this new reality. That makes giving employees an easy, intuitive user experience more important than ever – regardless of whether they are working on laptops in the office or on mobile devices on the go. The AP department, for example, needs to make it easy for everybody to access, manage and approve invoices from any location.
Greater Reliance on Data – data will become even more critical. Key data such as what organizations are spending with each supplier, which invoices are outstanding, and payment terms will help organizations better manage finances. To be useable, the AP data needs to be accurate, high-quality, uniform, and structured.
Automation improves employees’ roles, supporting individuals’ capability and contribution. Think about the impact on your organisation and these incremental improvements. Then, as a leader, talk to your teams to ensure that people understand the investment in technology.
The demands of the current work environment and economic pressures have demonstrated that there’s no time like the present to digitize processes and implement more modern AP operations.
Accounts payable in Dynamics 365 Finance is an accessible area to start the automation, resulting in immediate and practical benefits, helping you create tomorrow.