ISSI Document Management, Workflow Automation and RPA Blog

Get Even More Out of Automated AP Invoice Processing with RPA

Monday, May 31, 2021

Robotic Process Automation (RPA): AP Invoice Processing

Automate Exception Handling, Approvals, Payments & Other Stubbornly Manual Tasks

By now you probably know that data entry can be dramatically reduced for invoice processing using advanced document capture software and workflow automation.

By scanning paper invoices and email attachments with advanced document capture software, data is automatically extracted and populated into your accounting software or ERP system. Workflow automation routes invoices for any manual processing needed (including exceptions and approvals) and the approved invoices are scheduled for payment. This reduces invoice processing time from weeks to days.

But you might be surprised to learn that you can shrink your processing time even further – from days to mere hours. That’s the beauty of robotic process automation (RPA).

Data Entry Automation Problems

Here are the sticking points for getting data into and out of your systems without RPA:

  • Even the most advanced document capture software doesn’t automatically extract everything
  • Some vendor invoices need to be downloaded from their portal
  • Integration of document capture and workflow software with your accounting/ERP software may be lacking and can be expensive to develop with professional services
  • Automated 3-way matching, where you validate invoice totals by matching amounts with the purchase order and bill of lading or other delivery receipt, can be complex and expensive to set up

In many situations, RPA can automate all of the above for a fraction of what custom development and professional services cost – and can be fully implemented within a few days.

Where RPA Is a Good Fit

In general, RPA is useful for the following:

  • Opening email attachments (e.g. invoices and related documents, correspondence)
  • Logging into web portals (e.g. vendors to pull invoices, your bank to schedule payments)
  • Logging into third-party software applications (e.g. your accounting/ERP software)
  • Connecting to existing APIs
  • Moving files and folders
  • Copying and pasting data
  • Filling in forms
  • Executing if/then decisions
  • Collecting data from the internet (i.e. screen scraping)
  • Performing calculations
  • Filtering structured data extracted from documents

With these capabilities, RPA can work well with advanced data capture and workflow automation software to further streamline and automate invoice processing. In some cases, RPA may be used instead.

What Can RPA Do for You?

The good news: the possibilities of RPA are endless. The bad news: the possibilities of RPA are endless. So where do you start?

A good place to begin is by sharing your document and process issues with us as part of an ISSI Workflow Assessment. Once we understand your situation, we will recommend different automation and even outsourcing options so you can select the best fit and enjoy the resolution of these problems.

Contact us to learn more about RPA and workflow automation