Accounts payable is one of those business processes crying out for automation. EDI was introduced in 1996. Seventeen years later, a PayStream Advisors survey showed that 52% of vendor invoices still arrive in paper form. And all that paper-pushing leads to errors, lost invoices, missed payment deadlines and a lot of chasing after approvals.
Why are organizations slow to automate their AP process? The number one reason, according to PayStream, is the belief that current processes work pretty well. The second most cited reason is “lack of budget,” followed by “no executive sponsorship,” which probably accounts for the lack of budget.
Talk about three strikes and you’re out.
You know how valuable AP automation would be, but you are probably tired of trying to push that particular rock up the hill. The good news is that you can forget the rock. There are smarter ways to get to the same goal.
Instead of trying to budget a big technology project, take a look at Invoice Automation and Workflow approval service options. In a high-quality service offering, the vendor provides a Digital Mailroom to receive incoming invoices, regardless of delivery method or format, and turn them all into a standard electronic digital document. The vendor applies Intelligent Capture to pull the key data from the invoices, then loads the electronic invoices onto a Workflow system governed by custom business rules that routes them through the approval process. Once payment is approved, the invoices are posted to your accounting system for payment and our Digital Repository, where they are archived and are retrievable in seconds for audit purposes.
Outsourcing your invoice automation and workflow approval is becoming more and more common. You benefit from the vendor’s digital workflow systems and specialized equipment. You gain the vendor’s experience with developing invoice processing business rules and managing exceptions and streamlining the digital approval process.
With the right due diligence, outsourcing your invoice automation and approval workflow can be a winning strategy. Instead of capital dollars, which you can’t get, you pay a predictable service fee from your operating budget. For that, you can expect a 50% savings in cost, 150% reduction in turnaround time and increase in data accuracy to near 100%.
Instead of three strikes, you can hit a home run.