Follow That Invoice

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AP automation

Quicker approval cycles ranked as the top benefit to the implementation of a document management solution.

There comes a time in every action movie where the hero exposes the villain’s weakness. The same can be said about using technology to expose weaknesses in your business.  Weakness is defined as escalating costs, lack of accountability and sustainability. And it’s very prevalent if you’re manually processing Accounts Payable invoices. The unsung heroes are those employees chasing the invoice through a system of obstacles and threats that otherwise could harm your company.

According to a study by PayStream Advisors[1], the number one challenge in the invoice management process is that the majority of invoices received are paper.  It can take up to five days for mailing and initial processing, and 20 – 45 days for the entire process[2].

The second challenge according to the study is that paper invoices must be entered into the system manually, which oftentimes is seen as an inefficient process. Manual entry is time consuming, may lead to mistakes, and requires the most man power. Manual processing can cost up to $20 per invoice, and even more for smaller companies[3].

The invoice details must be reviewed and reconciled to ensure proper data entry and compliance with processes. If a mistake is discovered during this stage it can lead to potential phone calls, lost faxes, or delayed mail drops before the invoice is updated, resent, reprinted, re-reviewed and approved by all parties. In other words, this manual AP process takes a lot of time.

Additionally, the invoice approval process can be frustrating and is often the step where paper invoices go missing. The manual processing “villain” causes delays along the way, reducing your chances of receiving early payment discounts and may even put you in a position to be penalized for late payments. It’s no surprise then that a shortened approval process is ranked as the top benefit for implementing a document management solution[4].

Additional benefits of using a document management system for AP processing includes increased employee productivity, reduction in processing costs, and fewer lost invoices. AP automation can reduce invoice processing time down to 1-3 days, leaving time for your employees to tend to process innovation and vendor relations.

An automated system makes your employees look and feel like the heroes they are!


Ray Emirzian is Vice President of Operations & Product Management with emphasis on Accounts Payable Solutions at DocStar, a B2B software firm specializing in cloud document management software and business process automation. Ray has over two decades of experience in business process analysis, business process automation, and business consultation working with industry-leading organizations including NCR, Canon USA, and AuthentiDate Holding Corporation. Ray offers innovative perspectives on streamlining business for improved efficiency and productivity. You can follow Ray and the DocStar team on Twitter @DocStarsoftware.