Accounts payable function is always something that companies spend a good time, energy and budget. While always wishing that there must be an easy way to implement end to end accounts payable automation. Most of the companies have multiple suppliers or vendors having their own invoice format. The problem aggravates when the invoice creation system of the vendor and invoice processing system of the customers is not integrated. This sometimes leads to manual processing of invoices received through email, papers and sometimes even scanned images. This manual processing is susceptible to errors and delays due to which loss of time as well as in some cases missing the discount window provided by the supplier occurs.
How Accounts Payable Automation solves this?
Accounts payable automation streamlines and transforms the entire AP process with digital technology involving BOTs with zero manual intervention. This leads to error-free and faster payments processing saving money for the company. At the same time encashing the discount window provided by the vendor. With today’s intelligent automation technology, the process can be easily changed to digital with minimal disruption to the existing process. Integration with the core ERP system, that the company has already invested money is made even more easy with the solution.
Five key elements of accounts payable automation
Accounts payable automation leverages different digital technologies interwoven in a solution that makes it super easy for organizations to reduce their invoice processing time by at least 70%. Below are five key elements which play an important role in accounts payable automation.
1. Email reader BOT
Firstly, the process gets initiated with the supplier sending the invoice through an email to the accounts payable department. This is where automation technology takes over. The email reader BOT reads the email, understands it and stores the invoice data at a pre-defined location.
2. Supplier Portal
The supplier portal is an optional component but can greatly add to the overall simplification of the process. If a supplier portal is implemented, the suppliers can view the purchase orders (PO) in the supplier portal itself and raise the invoice against the specific PO. The important checks like PO, GRN and line item matching can be done at this level itself and the supplier gets quick feedback about the invoice raised. However, as stated earlier, the automation is still possible even if the supplier portal is not implemented.
3. Computer Vision / OCR Engine
The computer vision or OCR engine helps in reading the invoices coming in PDF or scanned image format. Converts it to the information that computers can understand. This is a very critical element of the entire digital process. The three-way accuracy of this engine is important for the success of the process.
4. AI/ML Module
The artificial intelligence/machine learning module helps in refining information provided by the computer vision/OCR engine. It helps incorrect identification of the information in the invoice irrespective of location. This is important as different suppliers might provide the same information like PO, tax number at different places in the document.
5. ERP Integration
The ERP integration BOT does the most important function of three-way matching of PO, Invoice, and receipt of goods (GRN). It does so by getting the information from the existing ERP where the PO was created and GRN was recorded. Once matched and approved by the approver, the BOTS posts this into bill passing a queue of ERP like SAP, Oracle or EPICOR.
Benefits of Accounts Payable Automation
The accounts payable automation is one of the most mature examples of intelligent automation technology. It has numerous benefits. It reduces the cost of processing invoices by up to 40% and can help to improve the time required to process the invoice by almost three times. You can get more information about the benefits here.
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