Invoice automation: the time is right

Editorial Type: Feature Date: 2022-02-15 Views: 1,288 Tags: Document PDF Version:
Martin Fairman, Group Sales & Marketing Director at Kyocera Document Solutions UK, argues that now is the time to automate Accounts Payable functions in order to make the most of hybrid working

In a changed working environment, finance professionals can no longer rely on manual processes to get the job done. Increasing efficiency in finance departments is more crucial than ever, and automation has a major role to play in achieving this. As an integral element of the company's financial function, automating accounts payable is an important step that businesses should be looking to take.

Despite its importance in managing the cashflow of the business, efficiency issues and errors are frequent. Moreover, 56% of organisations have experienced cashflow forecasting difficulties due to problems with accounts payable. In addition to this, 63% have received duplicated invoices and 54% have seen invoices sent to the wrong place. Furthermore, 95% of UK businesses are still using paper and manual data entry in their finance function.

This is where automating accounts payable can be hugely effective in streamlining processes, eliminating cumbersome manual tasks, and reducing human error.

The uncertainty of the last couple of years has proven to business leaders that keeping a tight rein on cashflow is absolutely vital if you want to survive and thrive. By embracing automation, organisations can experience a plethora of immediate benefits. These include reduced invoice processing costs, increased visibility, higher staff productivity and a reduction in costly invoicing errors.

The average cost of processing a single invoice manually is £8-£15. By digitising accounts payable tasks, companies can significantly reduce invoice cycle times. Subsequently, this leads to an overall reduction in processing and operational costs. Further still, 36% of technology leaders say that employees are less efficient due to siloed data management practices.

A lack of integration between different key systems such as accounts payable, enterprise resource planning (ERP) or financial management platforms can lead to a catalogue of issues, drastically affecting efficiency.

Adopting accounts payable automation software enables easier integration of various systems, as it can be set up to automatically synchronise with ERP and other business-critical systems and provide staff with a single interface to administer tasks. This breaks down the silos that hamper many organisations, creating a more efficient and organised process in the long run.

Accounts payable has a number of challenges to attend to but building a more efficient operation is certainly achievable for the organisations that are prepared to pursue it. As in many other areas of the business, automation is the way to go to empower staff to do their jobs more effectively and reduce or eliminate the problems of old. With the right strategy in place, there's every reason for the finance department to look to the future with optimism.

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