Going “paperless” through AP automation offers surprising benefits. It’s not just the money you’ll save on copy paper. It’s also the space saved by eliminating file cabinets, the postage saved by not mailing as many invoices to your customers, and the time saved by encouraging employees to look up information themselves in the database. AP automation reduces waste and improves efficiency throughout your company.
What Is AP Automation?
Most AP departments are mired in paperwork. Not only do they manually process bills, but often several people check and double check invoices against estimates and contracts, then shuffle paperwork around to department heads for signatures and approvals. Finally, a check is cut, the envelope is sealed, and the payment goes out. Several days of work and pieces of paper per invoice aren’t uncommon.
AP automation streamlines the entire process, so the paperwork shuffle comes to a halt. Instead of routing a stack of invoices and contracts for double checking the amounts owed, the process is automated, so documents are emailed instead of routed.
Electronic documents are common today. Most of us are familiar with completing our tax forms via an electronic document or signing other documents using a computer program. AP automation via systems such as Altec DocLink take it many steps further by capturing, retrieving, storing, and routing paperwork via electronic files.
Five Reasons to Automate Your AP Department
Now that you understand what AP automation is all about, here’s why your business benefits from automating accounts payable.
- Access documents anywhere, anytime: Instead of walking to the file cabinets, you can access the documents anytime and anywhere. You no longer need to call or message the AP department to check if an invoice is paid. Employees with authorization can log into the system to check on their own invoices. Cloud-based document storage and retrieval systems enable anyone, anywhere, to view and use documents. You’re no longer tied down to one place to store everything.
- Find what you need, fast: Most of us have had the experience of hunting through a file cabinet for a document when someone got creative in the alphabetizing department. It’s no secret that files get misplaced and can be difficult to locate. With AP automation, documents can be retrieved electronically. You find what you need fast through sophisticated data retrieval systems built into Altec DocLink.
- Faster approval processes: Instead of sending paperwork down the hall or to another building, click send and the invoice goes to the appropriate manager to approve. The manager can then click a button indicating approval and you’re alerted immediately. In a manufacturing environment, when managers are rarely at their desks but often walking among the workers or equipment to monitor a project, they can approve documents on their phones. You no longer have to wait for anyone to get back to their desk and find time to work through a stack of papers. If you’d like to see a video on how automation works in this case, we have a sample just for you: AP Approval Process Using DocLink by Altec.
- Better efficiency: AP automation just makes sense. Many processes in a typical AP department lend themselves easily to automation. Automated workflows can be built into a system so the system routes materials efficiently and quickly without human intervention. It boosts efficiency throughout the process.
- Reduce or eliminate rekeying data: AP departments sometimes rekey data into multiple systems. With AP automation, you no longer need to rekey information. OCR scanners and other methods move paper documents easily into the database without the need to re-type it. That eliminates potential mistakes, too.
Businesses benefit from AP automation in many ways. Reduced paperwork, faster approvals, less time spent typing … the time and cost savings are enormous. It’s time for AP automation.
For a free consultation, call Emerald TC. Emerald TC is an Atlanta-based consulting organization that offers Acumatica, Sage 100cloud, and other solutions to help small and mid-sized businesses improve their productivity and efficiency. Please contact us or call 770.377.8334.