Who benefits from AP automation?
Benefits of accounts payable automation: Helping CFOs, controllers, and AP managers thrive
AP Automation 101
The marketplace is competitive, and companies feel constant pressure to improve operations at minimal cost while maintaining a high level of customer service. With cloud-based, automated accounts payable platforms, businesses can relieve that pressure by improving efficiency, saving time, and saving money.
Digital platforms cut labor-intensive, error-prone AP tasks like invoice entry, scanning, receipt and purchase order matching, coding, correcting errors, and data migration. Companies and employees also stay better organized with automation. With the right AP software, you’ll never worry about losing invoices or have payments fall through the cracks. Completing, filing, organizing, and keeping track of paperwork also creates a strain on time, time that can be saved after going digital. Additionally, decreased clutter, seamless access to data, increased security, and reduced busywork all make for a more peaceful and joyful work environment.
The ripple effect of an integrated automation solution can be felt widely throughout the company.
Businesses increasingly recognize the need to automate their accounts payable department and for good reason: the positive impact of AP automation is indisputable. Cloud-based automation cuts invoice processing time by 50%, refocuses manpower time previously spent on manual data input, eliminates mistakes, ensures on-time payments, improves working capital management, and optimizes performance. A cloud-based platform also allows for greater collaboration and accountability as well as improved security and reporting, all of which results in a dramatic increase in ROI.
Three benefits of AP automation
Save time: AP automation platforms dramatically increases productivity and boosts scalability, helping staff handle an increasing volume of payables in half the time without added stress. Invoices are processed faster, manual data entry and coding errors are reduced, there are no lost or misplaced invoices, approval cycle times are minimized, and payables are routed automatically and instantaneously.
Save money: Using an automated platform drastically reduces or even eliminates manual work so you save processing time and costs. Automating your accounts payable process also means you’ll be alerted to duplicates and reminded of pending due dates. You’ll never mistakenly over-pay an invoice, pay an invoice twice, or be in danger of making late payments. And accounts payable fraud detection is easier with an automated engine.
Make money: Automated workflows reduce late payments, ensuring companies can take advantage of opportunities for savings and volume rebates. E-invoicing allows you to pay vendors/bills/invoices easily and immediately, which can generate early payment discounts from many vendors. These rebates and discounts can add up to thousands of extra dollars and boost your ROI.
Benefits of automated AP for CFOs
As a company’s top financial leader, CFOs champion strategic actions that strengthen the business. They lead reporting initiatives, oversee risk management, guide the flow and integrity of financial information throughout the company, and focus on implementing effective working capital and cash management strategies. These important responsibilities can directly impact the way a company presents itself and how resilient an organization can become. AP automation enables CFOs and their teams to work at peak performance by enhancing processing and staff efficiency, providing reliable reporting, and reducing risk.
Peak performance: AP automation not only saves money, it saves time. For a CFO, this means better utilization of their most important resource: their staff. According to WorkMarket’s 2020 In(Sight) Report, 53% of employees said they can save up to two work hours a day through automation, and 78% of business leaders claimed automation frees up to three work hours a day. This means staff members once embroiled in manual paper-based processes can take on strategic projects and analytical work that supports organizational efficiency and growth.
Reliable reporting: Many businesses still conduct reporting using manual data entry and spreadsheets that come attached with time-consuming, inconsistent, intensive efforts fraught with errors. Fully automated data capture and sophisticated analytics allow you to forecast a truer picture of costs and better control P&L giving you more confidence in your financial predictions and reporting.
When everyone works from a single source of truth, CFOs and their teams can deliver accurate reports more frequently, complete a financial close quickly, and dive deeper into company data to deliver strategic insights to other leaders within the organization.
Greater security, reduced risk: Paper allows sensitive documents to be easily be compromised, and paperwork can be misfiled, destroyed, or stolen. A digital approach offers a much higher level of security for you and your customers’ data. When data is stored and updated centrally, CFOs can control and monitor access, so staff only touch the data that is relevant to them. In addition, numerous safeguards, encryption, and banking-level security measures work together to protect your documents and keep your company safe from phishing scams.
Automation also makes being in compliance simple and minimizes audit risk. Secure,
permission-based access with audit trail make complying with accounting and industry regulations easier.
The automation process helps CFOs use resources in more efficient ways, leading to greater savings and a bigger profit for the organization.
Benefits of automated AP for controllers
Financial controllers walk a daily tightrope between focusing on strategic initiatives that demonstrate tangible savings and the day-to-day task of getting invoices paid on time. The controller has complete oversight of all accounting and related functions. A smooth process that connects the greater accounting, accounts payable, and accounts receivable teams is the key for success. Automated workflows help controllers eliminate errors, empower their staff, and develop a future-focused mindset.
Improved processes: Rather than juggling a slew of messy email chains, opening envelopes, and stacks of paper, automation transforms the accounts payable process into one centralized online workflow. Data is automatically extracted from invoices that are routed to approvers, or automatically approved, depending on your preferences and business needs via customizable workflows. Controllers know where every invoice is instantly and can monitor the productivity of their staff in real time. Vendor communications are made easy with full transparency into invoice status.
Centralized AP processes also help with month-end closes. Eliminating invoice errors and duplicate payments means no more re-balancing of the books when you find last-minute errors.
Future-forward mindset: When manual work is handled by an AP automation solution, controllers have more time to focus on strategic activities. That means looking forward to the future and better anticipating the constantly shifting compliance landscape, proactively evaluating vendor relationships for cost savings, staying on top of new regulations, and establishing a vision for how the finance department can positively impact and help grow the business.
Approver empowerment: When the bulk of the invoices received by your organization are processed manually, it’s likely that your AP team is overwhelmed with inbound inquiries. Under this stress, invoices often get processed slowly and can be easily lost. Department leaders get frustrated by slow payments and relationships with vendors can deteriorate as a result.
AP automation empowers the people who are most directly impacted: the invoice approvers. Once an invoice is captured and validated, it is routed directly to the manager responsible for approving the payment, accompanied with fully customizable workflows and notifications that help keep the invoice top of mind. Vendors can take any concerns directly to the approver, and approvers can rest easy knowing that invoices won’t get lost in the shuffle.
An automated accounts payable system provides a sense of control that is impossible to achieve with paper-based invoice management.
Benefits of automated AP for AP managers
AP managers direct the day-to-day operations of accounts payable and are often responsible for the success of the AP department. The AP team is the first and last line of defense against fraud, overspending, vendor relationships, and expense accounting inaccuracy. With AP automation, formerly tedious tasks are completed with greater speed, reduced errors, and more collaboration. Automation also ensures you can build a flexible database, track AP history, and create stellar vendor relationships.
Reduced errors: Invoices are complex documents; manual entry requires hours of intensive labor rife with input errors and duplicate data entry. Rather than simply scanning and uploading a document, AP automation recognizes digital and handwritten data and automatically captures it. This ensures that the entire process remains automated and reduces input errors, saving accounts payable managers hours of time and money previously spent on correcting mistakes or finding new vendors if relationships sour.
Searchable database & history: AP managers are responsible for answering to company leaders who want AP information, such as invoice progress and forecasts on what will be paid over the coming weeks. In the world of paper, these reports could take hours or days, but with an automated platform, AP managers can access the database and find the answers they need immediately.
Digital AP platforms also allow managers to automatically create comprehensive, searchable databases of payment history. This type of software allows managers to examine historical data quickly and strategize innovative ways to save money by taking advantage of payment incentives.
Greater collaboration: Members of accounts payable teams often operate in a siloed workflow and are typically unable to work remotely. Utilizing a single platform can consolidate the workflows of the entire team, which opens staff up to jump between projects and tasks while working toward common goals. AP automation allows as many people as necessary to collaborate on any particular payable in real time from anywhere. Regardless of location, everyone has access to invoices and can simultaneously confirm or dispute charges, seek clarification, or explain discrepancies, all with just the click of a mouse or a tap on your phone.
Better relationships with vendors: AP automation helps provide a better experience between businesses and vendors. Automation ensures vendors are paid on time based on the terms of their agreements and eliminates costly late payment fees. Vendors can also be automatically alerted during the invoice-to-pay process so that they know when to expect payment.
Because invoice data is captured and logged in a historical database, managers and their teams can quickly and accurately answer vendor questions regarding a payment or settle a dispute within cost or timeframe. For purchase orders, accounts payable managers can access information on supplies and inventory to ensure consistency between all departments.
Automation is an opportunity to enhance productivity and help AP teams work smarter, not harder.
Goby offers accounts payable professionals a faster, smarter way forward with cloud-based AP Automation. By digitizing invoices and capturing their data, Goby enables teams to streamline approval workflows, increase productivity, and eliminate mistakes while driving rapid ROI.
While automation of bills is the foundation of our product, Goby’s platform does what others do not—we automate 100% of your data and turn it into valuable information. With Goby’s Capture Once, Report Everywhere technology, once data is captured and automated, we take it to the next level with sophisticated, clear, actionable analytics and cross-platform benchmarking.
Serving mid-market companies from all industries across the US and Canada, Goby remains committed to the mission of creating delightful results out of ordinary data.