For several decades accounts payable (AP) departments have been talking about the end of paper processing—including the receipt of paper invoices and printing of paper checks—to increase e ciencies, reduce processing time and scale their operations. However, this promise has been slow to develop, with few companies able to successfully transform to a paperless environment. Despite more time-consuming checks and balances due to increases in invoice volumes, regulations and control expectations, AP departments are expected to reduce sta due to increased budget pressure. “Do more with less” is a common theme.
Fortunately, modern AP automation solutions not only make removal of paper invoice processes a reality, but are providing real relief to resource and time constrained AP departments. With the proper technologies, an AP operation has the ability to reduce resource requirements to complete the tedious tasks of data entry and mailing checks. Controls normally completed manually can be fully automated. Sta in AP can be reduced or re-focused on more value-added activities and, at the same time, invoice processing times can be reduced while nancial bene ts realized through discount capture and better management of cash ow.
In this report we will explore the components of AP automation and the challenges they help AP departments overcome. We will also discuss how connecting business travel, related expenses and invoice management can transform an AP operation by providing total visibility into employee spend. AP leaders often believe they are leveraging the power of AP automation but are actually only using some components of a truly automated solution. Let’s explore what true automation means to accounts payable.