ISSI Document Management, Workflow Automation and RPA Blog

What Goes into an AP Automation Project?

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Accounts Payable (AP) Invoice Processing Automation

Accounts Payable (AP) automation can streamline your finances for expedited – and more accurate – invoice processing. But what exactly goes into an AP automation project? Here’s what to know.

Do your accountants spend hours on manual tasks, processing invoices and paperwork? Not only is this inefficient, but it can also leave your organization at risk of human error, potentially compromising audits, and more.

AP automation streamlines and digitizes the entire process. Through a combination of workflow automation and systems integration, AP automation empowers your team with digital invoice processing. But what kind of automation do you need and what should it include?

Here’s what to know before starting an AP automation project.

2 Key Questions

When choosing AP automation technology, you want to assess two factors: your invoice volume and the level of automation you’re looking for.

Volume

Solutions vary greatly depending on whether you’re processing two, 200, or 2,000+ invoices per month. Overpaying for outsized software can be just as detrimental as purchasing a solution that isn’t up for the job. Finding the right balance is often the biggest hurdle in an AP project; once you have identified the right solution for your needs, your AP system will transform.

Degree of Automation

When ISSI evaluates a client’s needs, we carefully assess your volume and needs. Do you want to automate half, 80% or as close to 100% as possible?

Software such as ABBYY FlexiCapture or Hyland Brainware are more robust in nature, capable of handling high volumes and complex automation. If these bells and whistles are above your needs, however, software like ReadSoft could be the perfect match.

Even for smaller organizations with low volumes of invoices, saving just a few hours per week of manual work quickly adds up. AP automation liberates your accounting department of otherwise time-consuming and tedious data entry and routing jobs that are prone to human error.

3 Key Components of AP Automation

At its core, there are three components to AP automation. To have true automation, all three factors must be present:

  1. Document Capture: electronically capturing both emailed and scanned paper and automated extraction of invoice data (this is accomplished with OCR: optical character recognition)
  2. Processing & Approval: invoice images and extracted data need to be brought to your decision-making system, which could be your document management platform, your accounting solution, or even Outlook or Excel, and possibly interface with a dashboard (e.g. purchasing wants to see the status of your vendors – how much spent, if need to negotiate a discount)
  3. Reporting & Data Transfer: once payment decisions are made, a check is cut, the invoice is marked as paid, invoice images and extracted data need to go into your day-forward system (e.g. accounting or ERP software) through a custom integration or RPA

Choosing the Right Platform (and Partner)

Empower your knowledge workers while eliminating manual, error-prone tasks. With so many solutions on the market, every enterprise can find the right software to match their volume and expected level of automation to optimize their AP processes for a faster, more cost-efficient system.

Choosing a solution is best done with an experienced partner who can evaluate your needs and help you find the right size and sophistication of software for your organization. At ISSI, we have decades of experience in sourcing – and tailoring – solutions for clients across industries.

Are you ready to transform your AP processes?

Contact us to learn more about AP automation