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How to Choose the Right Accounts Payable Automation Solution

The accounts payable (AP) world is experiencing a paradigm shift due to digital transformation, leading to the introduction of several accounts payable automation solutions. Integrating AI, big data, and cloud computing is disrupting traditional workflows and expediting approvals across organizations. 

This change prompts small departments that traditionally used analog processes to embrace digitization. As a result, many organizations are investing heavily in or seriously considering accounts payable automation solutions. 

So, if you are also planning to implement an accounts payable automation solution in your business and are wondering how it can help your business, here are some key points to consider:

  • Accounts Payable are vital to a business’s liquidity. Improving AP processes through automation is a top priority for accurate financial forecasting and cost savings.
  • However, transitioning from manual to automation is not always straightforward, and identifying and creating best-in-class AP requires significant investments in systems.
  • An AP automation solution integrates rule-based, AI, and machine learning functionality to reduce the manual steps of the AP process and workflows.
  • According to research by Ardent, best-in-class AP teams leveraging automation see six times lower cost per invoice, four times faster invoice processing speeds, and two times lower invoice exception rates.
  • OCR technology is an excellent example of how automation can streamline repetitive and time-consuming tasks. OCR eliminates redundant manual invoices or data entry and can be included natively in your solution or outsourced to an external mailroom service.
  • Despite the benefits, 21% of organizations still view Accounts Payable as a back-office function with little organizational value. Communicating the significance of AP automation to stakeholders may not be easy.

AP automation solutions offer numerous benefits to organizations, including cost savings and faster processing times. While transitioning from manual to automation may be challenging, the potential payoff is significant. Organizations must recognize the value of AP and the potential benefits of automation to make informed budgetary investments in technology.

How Can Accounts Payable Automation Services Benefit Decision Makers in Business

Driving accounts payable change is challenging when AP is overwhelmed with everyday tasks. Making the business case for AP automation is a significant hurdle to overcome, especially for C-suite executives such as CEO, CFO, and Controller.

Let’s look at how AP Automation impacts decision-makers in a business.

AP Automation Services Impact on CEOs:

  • CFOs want a cost-efficient system, real-time information, and metrics for decision-making
  • AP automation strengthens corporate governance by reducing fraud, errors, and overpayment risks
  • It can match or exceed benchmarking statistics for industry best practices, allowing businesses to beat the competition

AP Automation Services Impact on CFOs:

  • CFOs need access to up-to-date, real-time data.
  • AP automation software electronically onboards suppliers, captures online invoices, screens vendors, and reduces duplicate payments.
  • Invoices, purchase orders, and receiving reports enter the system sooner than mailed documents.
  • Benefits include:
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  • Improving company planning and decision support, achieving labor efficiency to reduce company costs, shifting part of payables workload to suppliers with a vendor portal, enhancing corporate governance, and offering improved profitability.

AP Automation Service Benefits for a CFO:

  • AP automation helps to improve cash flow management and working capital, including financial adequacy
  • With automation, the CFO can run an efficient and functional operation in finance and accounting
  • The CFO automatically complies with multiple country regulations, including AML (anti-money laundering)

Apart from the points mentioned above, CFOs can leverage additional benefits of AP automation, which include:

  • Increasing payments efficiency and methods
  • Using global mass payments in multiple local currencies
  • Proactively negotiating and taking early payment discounts from vendors

The Process to Follow When Choosing an Accounts Payable Automation Solution

Choosing the right AP automation software provider can be overwhelming, but getting it right the first time is crucial since it requires time and money. But even more important is knowing why you want to invest in an AP automation system.

Here is a simple process you can follow. 

  1. Determine AP Needs:
  2.  
  3. Before selecting an automated AP solution, it is crucial to assess the requirements of your Accounts Payable department and processes. Identify pain points in your current AP processes to choose a solution that addresses these concerns.
  4. Audit Existing AP Processes:
  5.  
  6. To understand your AP automation needs, document your current processes, including invoice receipt, format, approval, and processing workflows. Keep an open mind for new processes that may come with the new system. Outlining best practices for AP department compliance and customization is also recommended.
  7. Establish AP Goals:
  8.  
  9. Define your AP automation goals, such as streamlining processing, improving accuracy, reducing cost-per-invoice, eliminating late fees, and capturing early payment discounts. Clear goals will help identify the specific requirements of an AP automation system.
  10. Identify System Dependencies:
  11.  
  12. Ensure your new AP system seamlessly connects to your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or financial system for data synchronization. Verify that suppliers/vendors can integrate with your AP systems and provide a stable connection to your ERP.
  13. Map Out Costs:
  14.  
  15. Understand the costs of your AP processes, including processing, postage, supplies, and employees, to determine the impact of a new automated system on your ROI. AP automation solutions can reduce invoice processing costs and errors.

As you journey towards an automated AP system, these considerations will help you identify the solution for your organization’s unique requirements.

How to Choose an Accounts Payable Automation Solution 

Accounts Payable (AP) automation software can help businesses save time and money by streamlining invoice processing and reducing errors. With so many options on the market, choosing the best AP automation software for your organization can be difficult. Here are some key factors to consider.

  1. Integration:
  2.  
  3. Ensure the AP automation software you choose integrates with your existing systems, including your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. This will ensure seamless data transfer between systems and prevent errors in manual data entry.
  4. User-Friendliness:
  5.  
  6. The software you choose should be user-friendly for your AP team and suppliers. Look for a solution that has a simple and intuitive user interface and provides suppliers with an easy way to submit and track invoices.
  7. Scalability:
  8.  
  9. Consider the future growth of your organization when choosing AP automation software. Ensure the solution can handle an increasing volume of invoices and supplier accounts and integrate with other systems you may adopt.
  10. Customization:
  11.  
  12. Every organization has unique AP processes and requirements. Look for a solution that can be customized to meet your specific needs, such as custom workflows, approval processes, and payment methods.
  13. Security:
  14.  
  15. Data security is essential for AP automation software. Ensure your solution has robust security measures, including data encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular security audits.
  16. Support and Training:
  17.  
  18. Make sure the AP automation software provider offers adequate support and training resources to help you and your team get up to speed quickly. Look for a provider that provides online resources, training sessions, and responsive customer support.

Considering these factors, you can choose the best AP automation software for your organization and reap the benefits of streamlined invoice processing and reduced errors.

Must-Have Features of an  Accounts Payable Automation Solution

With the help of AP automation software, businesses can reduce manual work and errors, improve efficiency, and enhance financial control and compliance. Here are some must-have features of an AP automation solution.

  1. Invoice capture and data extraction:
  2.  
  3. AP automation software uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology to capture data from invoices, which can be in any format, such as paper, email, or PDF. The software automatically extracts invoice data and populates it in the appropriate fields, such as invoice number, vendor name, invoice date, and amount. This eliminates the need for manual data entry and reduces errors.
  4. Invoice approval workflows
  5. : Once the invoice data is extracted, the AP automation software routes the invoice for approval based on predefined rules and workflows. The software can be configured to route the invoice to specific approvers based on criteria such as invoice amount, vendor, and department. This ensures that the right people approve invoices promptly.
  6. Automated payments:
  7.  
  8. AP automation software can automate the payment process by generating electronic payments, such as ACH and wire transfers, and sending them to vendors. The software can also generate checks and print them on-site or send them to a third-party printer. Automated payments reduce the time and cost of manual payment processing and improve accuracy.
  9. Vendor management:
  10.  
  11. AP automation software can store vendor information in a centralized database, such as contact details and payment terms. This information can be used to automate the invoice approval and payment process and generate reports and analytics. The software can also send automated reminders to vendors for overdue payments or missing invoices.
  12. Reporting and analytics:
  13.  
  14. AP automation software can provide real-time visibility into the accounts payable process through dashboards and reports. The software can generate reports on metrics such as invoice processing time, payment processing time, and invoice volume. This helps businesses identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement and track compliance with financial regulations and internal policies.

AP automation software is valuable for businesses looking to streamline their accounts payable processes. Companies can improve efficiency, reduce errors, and enhance financial control and compliance by automating invoice processing, approval workflows, payments, vendor management, and reporting.

Revolutionize Your Business Processes and Streamline Spend Management with Zapro

With cutting-edge accounts payable automation solutions like invoice matching and touchless processing, Zapro takes the tedious and time-consuming tasks out of accounting, creating a seamless and efficient Accounts Payable (AP) process for your business.

Zapro seamlessly integrates with your ERP system, helping you maximize your investment and empowering your finance team to focus on more strategic and value-adding initiatives. 

Automation makes business processes innovative and necessary, and with Zapro, your team can reach new heights of productivity and creativity.

Zapro acts as a trusted ally for your team, allowing them to focus on driving growth, fostering innovation, and shaping your organization’s future. By freeing time from mundane and repetitive tasks, your team can focus on what they do best, leading to increased job satisfaction and improved long-term success and prosperity for your business.

In addition to offering electronic invoice processing and payment solutions, Zapro provides a range of upstream activities to help businesses further streamline their invoicing processes. For example, Zapro can capture PR-PO data, which allows companies to automate the creation of invoices and reduces the risk of errors.

Zapro also offers features like automatic data validation and reconciliation, which help ensure the accuracy of invoices and reduce the risk of payment disputes. Furthermore, Zapro provides real-time analytics and reporting capabilities, which give businesses valuable insights into their invoicing processes and help identify areas for improvement. 

With these features, Zapro provides businesses with a comprehensive invoicing solution that streamlines the entire process, from PR-PO capture to payment reconciliation. It is an essential tool for companies looking to optimize their invoicing processes and comply with legal requirements.

Transform your AP process today by integrating Zapro.

Schedule a free demo now and see how Zapro can reinvent your business processes.

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