Posted By: Ray Emirzian
In the field of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) much of the attention in the healthcare space is on large, high-volume process-centric systems for things like claims processing or medical records. But one very important process that all healthcare organizations must manage is the Accounts Payable process.
Despite its fundamental role, most healthcare organizations overlook AP when it comes to document automation. One reason for this is that, until recently, most ECM installations required an enterprise-sized budget and a long implementation curve; something that few AP departments can afford.
But that may be changing as more and more healthcare CFO’s realize that some of the same document capture and automation tools used in other parts of the organization can be applied to AP with great success. The key is finding the right application fit that is both affordable and effective.
The good news is that next generation ECM solutions tailored for Accounts Payable address the many paper-bound inefficiencies that plague the process without the cost and complexity. By relieving the burden of manual, routine and repetitive activities, automation helps staff members function in more productive and value-added activities while reducing costs and inefficiencies.
What are some of the ways AP document automation can make a difference? Consider these four:
Automation systems help healthcare AP departments accelerate productivity by capturing and routing invoices automatically. Invoices are indexed, classified, matched and directly transferred into your ERP system. Manual data entry is eliminated, the time employees spend on lower value tasks is reduced, and stakeholders have access to order and payment information a lot faster.
By handling an invoice once, you automate the review process – saving time and ensuring your workflow is handled efficiently.
AP automation helps healthcare organizations increase profitability by taking advantage of early pay discount incentives with greater predictability. Invoices are processed more quickly since all invoices and supporting documentation – including audit trails and notes – are stored in one database and accessed directly from your ERP system.
The result is that your AP staff has access to all records they need to pay promptly and capture more discounts. The reduction and elimination of late payment penalties and improved cash flow overall are also compelling reasons to automate.
Healthcare organizations depend on their vendors to keep things running with a wide array of often high-importance products and services. AP automation helps ensure vendor satisfaction by managing and processing accounts payable faster and with more accuracy. Since information flows seamlessly between departments, vendor inquiries are answered more quickly and more precisely.
Smaller issues are resolved before they become larger problems. And when the entire procure-to-pay process is streamlined you benefit not only from increased profitability and a reduction in errors, but also from improved vendor and supplier relations.
AP automation helps healthcare CFOs more accurately predict financial outcomes because it provides greater visibility into the process. Since all the related content is stored, searched, and accessed from one centralized location, financial managers have a more complete and immediate view. You can quickly identify demands and constraints, and directly analyze processing performance over time.
As a result, organizations have a clearer picture of where they stand financially and AP professionals are better able to eliminate invoice processing bottlenecks, focusing on those accounts that need attention and improve cash management overall.
What are the next best steps to take toward document automation in your AP department? Take the first step by downloading our executive brief: How CFOs Build World Class AP Departments with AP Automation. In the brief, we identify the top challenges CFOs face, and how AP automation allows AP departments to work more efficiently, provide better cash flow visibility and cut costs – positively affecting your bottom line. Then, we offer a no-nonsense approach to implementing AP automation to make a smooth, cost-effective transition from manual processing.
Whatever path you choose, look for providers and partners with the right mix of experience, expertise and technical capabilities that will lead you to success with AP document automation.