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Invoice management: Five benefits of accounts payable automation

Want to eliminate slow, clunky, and error-prone invoice processing? Automating your Accounts Payable (AP) process removes the need for paper-based invoices and eliminates the manual transfer of submitted information from multiple different sources.

Webexpenses Invoice Processing delivers all the benefits of a cloud-based system, automating tasks of the often troublesome area of the purchase-to-pay process. To begin, when invoices are emailed, the system uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to scan for the relevant information and match it to the correct supplier, cost code, and internal approver. It can also check the bank details to ensure there haven’t been any changes, avoiding any potentially fraudulent activity.

Here’s how automating your AP process can transform your invoice handling:

1. Faster invoicing process
The most obvious benefit is the speed with which invoices are able to be processed. Compared to a traditional approach, it’s estimated that automation delivers an efficiency saving of around 90%.

This means fewer admin resources wasted and better relations with clients, customers and suppliers. It also removes the information lag caused by a slow process, providing finance managers with up-to-date company costs.

2. Reduced human errors
When details have to be transferred manually, it’s inevitable that mistakes will be made. The more invoices are handled, the higher the risks of human error become - whether it’s inputting inaccuracies or miscalculated costs.

An automated approach greatly reduces these risks. Up to 80% of invoices handled by Webexpenses’ Invoice Processing are able to be managed using a fully automated AP process.

3. Improved approval workflow
Automated approvals workflow provides some major benefits with the system checking each invoice and sending it on to the relevant approver. Smart rules can be created so that larger amounts require a higher level of checks.

It also allows automated notifications and reminders to be sent to approvers - including alerts on the smartphone app. It’s an effective way to help shield against the dangers of invoices getting ‘lost in the system’.

4. Better fraud protection
A particular strength of an automated approach is its fraud detection abilities. The system will check each invoice that’s submitted for signs of fraud - scanning email addresses, checking bank details and flagging up duplicates.

Whether these issues are a result of attempted fraud or a genuine oversight, it’s an effective tool to safeguard against the costs and compliance risks that are caused whenever illegitimate claims are processed.

5. Flexible and scalable
A major flaw with the conventional approach to invoicing is its inherent lack of scalability. As companies grow, the administrative paperwork and processing demands increase exponentially.

An automated solution provides the kind of flexibility and scalability that future-proofs a business to handle any increase in scale and complexity. It’s easily configured to meet the specific needs of each organization.

If your business is still using a traditional approach to invoice management, there are significant gains to be made by switching to cloud-based automation. It doesn’t just deliver a faster and simpler way to work, it unlocks completely new ways to control the purchase-to-pay process. By removing repetitive manual processing, it allows finance controllers to start focusing on properly managing, monitoring and maintaining an efficient system.