7 Reasons to Automate AP to Improve Cash Flow

Automate the AP process to gain control, increase visibility and reap the benefits of improved invoice management

What is the greatest time-saving invention of all time? Search online, ask your co-workers and you will find many answers – from the wheel to the telephone, the Model-T Ford to wireless technology.

Whatever your choice, each of these inventions saved us time by shortening the distances and connecting us to family, friends, work and play.

Luckily, these inventions continue to spawn new ideas and new ways to save us time and energy. In the 21st century we now have electric cars, laptop computers and wireless phones – and who knows what is coming next?

Thankfully, there are a myriad of ways to take advantage of time-saving technologies in our daily lives right now.

Yet even as businesses everywhere are taking advantage of new technology, there  is plenty of room for improvement. Have you considered automating  your AP process?

In this 3 part series on automating the AP process, we’ve covered how more and more small to medium businesses are discovering the benefits of shortening the AP cycle – from procurement to processing to payment – by automating the AP Process and in Part II, we discussed how companies can harness technology to simplify outdated processes and take advantage of increased agility in their AP Process in order to truly innovate.

And now we can get to the most important reason to automate your AP – improved cash flow.

According to The Institute of Financial Management, the AP process is the “strategic business partner” for cash management. Proper governance of cash flow can help a business better prepare for the future, take advantage of dynamic or early pay discounts and avoid late payment penalties, while maintaining a better business relationship with vendors, suppliers and ultimately – customers.

By investing  in AP Automation Software, you’ll  increase efficiency , save time and improve cash flow by implementing a dynamic solution.

Need a good reason to automate? Here are 7:

Real-Time Approvals
Automating your AP process allows you to securely capture and route invoices and move them through the system efficiently with real-time approvals.

When all stakeholders have access, they can stay up to date and informed every step of the way, streamlining the entire invoice process.

Everyone has access to information like invoice number, PO number, related documentation as well as the status of the invoice to ensure speedy approvals and faster payments.

Automatic Data Population
Businesses can save time by capturing invoices electronically with an automated solution that extracts and stores key summary and detail data, and simultaneously pushes the information to a secure repository and your ERP accounting system.

By reducing double data entry, you reduce not only the time it takes for the information to enter multiple systems, you also reduce costly human error.

Advanced Reporting Tools
Real-time data produces real-time reporting. AP departments and managers have great visibility and financial oversight via dashboards and reports that just isn’t possible when that invoice is sitting on someone’s desk.

And because invoices are tracked from the moment they enter the system, managers can review the status of an  invoice, invoices  held for exceptions, duplicates, or approvals to resolve issues promptly and eliminate expensive late payment penalties.

Early Pay Discounts
Better communication means better coordination of workflow from the time you receive the invoice until it is paid. By managing the payment process more effectively, you can eliminate late payment fees and take advantage of early payment discounts from suppliers.

Teams can work to negotiate early payment discounts with suppliers and better manage the procure-to-pay process by talking to their suppliers about the benefits of automatic invoice processing.

As shown in Table 1, Best-in-Class companies have a 90% capture rate for early pay discounts, versus laggards who only have an 18% capture rate.Table 1 Aberdeen Group

Once you develop a track record of early and on-time payments, you can better negotiate dynamic payment discounts that offer financial incentives for your business.

Reduce Costs
What if you could reduce the time it took to process an invoice from 16.3 days to 4.1 days? Or  cut your processing cost from $16.17 to $3.34 per invoice?

If your company processes 500 invoices a month, it can cost as much as $67,140 in paper, processing, labor and other costs. Imagine what you could do if you reduced that by even 30-50 percent.

Decrease Errors
Streamlining the entire payment process allows businesses to manage the entire lifecycle of an invoice, from receipt of the invoice through approvals to ensuring the payment is processed quickly and accurately—resulting in fewer errors.

Alerts sent when deadlines are missed help to make your team more proactive and eliminate the chance for late or non-payment. Exceptions can be routed to the appropriate person instantly for resolution.

Ensure Accuracy
With electronic invoice processing, you eliminate data entry errors. Detail and summary information is automatically imported into the system. Data inaccuracies or imbalances are flagged for review and resolved immediately.

With today’s cloud-based technology, it is easy to centralize and standardize all of your invoice management processes for greater visibility and efficiency that ultimately lead to improved cash flow.

Whether you increase the number of  early-pay discounts or eliminate manual processes, there are many reasons to implement AP Automation. Once you start, there are opportunities for you to expand business processes automation into other areas of your business.

It is the 21st Century, after all. Let’s take advantage of all it has to offer.

Want to see what DocStar ECM AP Automation can do you for company? View our 4-minute Tour today!