In our previous articles, we discussed the importance of the efficiency of your accounts payable (AP) process to your organisation as a whole, as well as outlined five KPI’s you can use to measure your AP process efficiency.
Many organisation’s accounts payable process efficiency suffers because they still rely on their staff to manually process invoices, a practice that often proves to be shockingly costly to them.
Fortunately, there are now solutions available that help you to move towards automated invoice processing, including our new Unit4 Business World (Agresso) ERP Invoice Automation software, which enables you to automatically capture invoice data instead of relying on costly and outdated manual data entry.
For organisations who use the Unit4 Business World (Agersso) ERP system, our Invoice Automation solution also has the added benefit of being fully integrated with your ERP system, meaning you can manage the whole data capture process from within the desktop or web version of your system.
We take a look below at some of the key benefits of introducing automated invoice processing technology in to your organisation.
Huge time savings
Manually processing invoices is hugely time-consuming, and this is no better illustrated than when it comes to manual invoice data entry.
Our Unit4 Business World (Agresso) Invoice Automation solution uses aritifical intelligence (AI) to capture and process invoice data up to six times faster than manual entry. In fact, the video below demonstrates the difference in speed.
With data entry being the most painful point of manual invoice processing according to a report by Level, automating your invoice data entry is arguably the most important step you can make in improving the efficiency of your accounts payable process through automation.
As an added bonus, because our solution uses AI technology, it is continuously self-learning, meaning its speed and accuracy will only increase the more you use it. You can even tell the software which fields are important to you within your invoices, meaning your process will not be slowed down by data fields that have little or no relevance to your organisation.
Generally speaking, those organisations who take advantage of accounts payable automation technology, such as automated invoice data capture solutions, can process 4.11 times as many invoices as those who do not. The benefits of this increase for your organisation can be far-reaching, both directly and indirectly.
Reduction in errors
12.5% of manually processed invoices are subject to some form of re-working. It is unsurprising then that the cost of all these errors quickly add up, especially when you start to consider the indirect and hidden costs of using internal resources (time and money) to spot and rectify errors, in addition to the direct cost of the errors themselves.
In contrast, our Unit4 Business World (Agresso) Invoice Automation solution can achieve up to 98% data capture accuracy from any invoice layout. This can dramatically reduce your average invoice processing time and average cost of processing of an invoice, both of which are significant KPIs when it comes to measuring the performance of your accounts payable process.
Crucially, it also means you are reducing the amount of time your senior Finance team have to spend on re-working transactions…
Make use of Finance’s time
Increasing the efficiency of your accounts payable process can free up your Finance team to spend more time on tasks that generate real value for your organisation
This is because not only will they be spending less time processing invoices, but also because they will also have less supplier enquiries to respond to due to the fact invoices are being paid quicker. A 2019 report by Aberdeen Benchmark found that organisations who automate their accounts payable process benefit from their AP staff spending 30% less time dealing with supplier enquiries.
The extent of this problem is illustrated by the fact that CFO.com found that Finance in general spends only 20% of its time providing the financial information organisations need to help them make strategic decisions.
Furthermore, this work balance is something your employees are likely to be frustrated by too, with Monday.com finding that 63% of staff feel like tasks, such as manual data entry, are preventing them from having the time to show off their best work.
Boost relationships with suppliers
Every organisation relies on suppliers whose services and/or products are key to their continued operation. It therefore makes sense that you would want to ensure your relationship with yours is as strong as it can be.
In most cases, this can be guaranteed by ensuring your accounts payable process is set-up to help ensure invoices are paid on time. If you are not paying your invoices on time, your suppliers may feel like they need to charge late payment fees, or even worse, refuse to work with you, a situation that has effected on in five organisations.
Paying supplier invoices on time can not only prevent deeply costly incidents such as these, but it can also open the door to even further cost-savings through the possibility of early invoice payment discounts. In fact, 46% of AP managers define capturing early payment discounts as a top priority for them moving forward.
The cost-savings from introducing automation in to your accounts payable process are huge, none more so than then you consider automated invoice data capture software.
Our Unit4 Business World (Agresso) Invoice Automation solution can significantly reduce your average invoice processing time through increased speed and a reduction in errors, factors which can have many far-reaching benefits for your organisations.
Even without taking into account the indirect cost-savings, our solution likely offers a significant direct saving when compared to your existing average invoice processing cost. Our solution uses technology that has been calculated to process invoices at an average cost of £0.37. In comparison, those who rely on manual practices for invoice processing can experience an average cost of anywhere between £1.66 and £8.97. In the vast majority of cases, your average cost figure will not take into account the indirect and hidden costs that result from manual invoice processing errors and delays, meaning your saving is actually likely to be significantly higher.