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5 Benefits of Automating Your Accounts Payable

Business.com / Accounting / Last Modified: February 26, 2018
Photo credit: garagestock/Shutterstock

Whether you are looking to increase the efficiency of your accounts payable department or if you are just getting started in business, the benefits of automating your A/P far outweigh the costs.

As we move forward in the era of digital transformation across all segments of businesses, change can be difficult for everyone, and highlighting the benefits of such transformations is critically important. For example, despite the ease of working with online tools and software, most accounts payable departments continue to process and review invoices manually.

Below are five reasons why it makes sense to streamline your processes with accounts payable automation and begin your digital transformation journey.

1. Accuracy

Anytime you type or write by hand, there is a possibility you will get a number wrong. One of the main job responsibilities of an accountant is to check and then double-check for simple math errors. Everyone knows that 1+1 = 2, but in a stack of hundreds of invoices, mistakes happen. Even a simple addition error can cost money and time as you untangle the mess. By automating accounts payable, you know that the invoice you enter will be the same invoice others see and respond to. If there is an error in the initial invoice, the system can be set up to easily recognize inconsistencies or errors. 

2. Efficiency

By automating your accounts payable process, you relieve workers from monotonous tasks and free them to use their skills in more productive ways. In most cases, invoice processing is primarily focused on reading and entering figures, then checking them for accuracy. As this portion of the AP process is automation, accounts payable professionals can use their skills to maximum effect by shifting to a more analytics-focused role, looking for opportunities to improve cash flow and secure discounts from vendors, for example . 

3. Oversight

Even though it might seem that automating accounts payable could make you less aware of the day-to-day operations, the opposite is true. By pulling only relevant data and presenting it only to relevant parties, automated accounts payable gives you more oversight possibilities. By putting everything online in a transparent process, you can collate data into usable reports or drill down into specific clients and specific workers.

4. Streamlined processes

Even the best manual approval process hit snags where some supplier invoices or payments may fall through the cracks. Accounts payable automation lets you automate the approval and entire workflow process, including checking to make sure that billed amounts are correct and that all relevant parties are notified and approve the expense at appropriate intervals. By automating this process, there is no need to chase down missing information. If there's a hitch at some point in the approval process, you know exactly where that is and how to fix it. If everything's going well and you simply want to check on the status of an invoice, you can do so with a few clicks.

5. Record keeping

By automating your accounts payable and using a transparent, digital process for this critical business function, you're also creating a digital trail that anyone can follow. If you have stacks of paper forms in a file cabinet somewhere, you know that sometimes paper gets lost, along with critical signatures. Moving your accounts payable to an automated platform gives you the ability to track every step of your operations and then hold those records in keeping with a standardized retention schedule. If you ever need to present records to someone, such as a prospective partner, think how much simpler it will be for all involved to share digital versions complete with transaction histories, all automatically created as part of doing business.

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