Accounts Payable Automation Software: Expectations Vs. Reality

Posted by Kristen Bowers on Feb 20, 2019 9:42:00 AM

Reality Check Ahead written on the roadThere’s a lot of talk in different business sectors about automation and how it can improve operations. For manufacturing industries, the benefits of automation are apparent. Specialized machinery takes over certain physical labour tasks, such as replacing workers on an assembly line or drivers for truck freight hauling.

In white-collar industries, tasks that are performed at a desk and on a computer can also benefit from automation. Accounts payable automation software, for example, can take on the tedious but necessary task of handling incoming and outgoing financial transactions between partners, clients, and customers.

Let’s set the record straight between what you’ve heard and what you know about accounts payable automation software.

It Doesn’t Eliminate the Workforce

First, let’s get the big, looming worry out of the way. Accounts payable automation software, or any other type of financial automation, does not suddenly reduce the finance department of a company to zero workers. What accounts payable automation software does is improve workflow and let existing staff do their work better and faster in essential ways.

Don't forget to check out our Definitive Guide to Accounts Payable Automation!

Speed Up Data Entry

In some cases, AP invoice automation can either eliminate or streamline the process of receiving and entering invoices. Invoices received digitally, for example, can be automatically processed (if there are no exceptions or red flags that need to be dealt with). On the other hand, even paper invoices received in the mail can be scanned with optical character recognition software, rather than requiring a human to type out all the information.

Fraud Reduction

In some cases, accounts payable automation software can even dramatically reduce honest errors and deliberate attempts at fraud. AP automation solutions plug up a lot of the “holes” that isolated, unsupervised accounts payable activities leave vulnerable to exploitation or error. People leave digital footprints or signatures when both correctly processing and making unauthorized alterations.

How Accounts Payable Automation Software Helps

Now that we know what accounts payable automation software doesn’t do, you might ask, what can it really do to help a business? The answer to this question depends entirely on a business’s willingness to incorporate the technology and the depth to which that integration goes.

For example, AP automation can speed up data entry if it is only used to scan in physical documents. On the other hand, a comprehensive accounts payable automation solution can receive and process digital invoices on its own. It can automatically notify management to review and approve certain invoices. It can even make information available online for easy retrieval, which is excellent for managers travelling abroad who need to pull up the data on a smartphone. Many benefits extend beyond quicker data entry.

The power of an accounts payable automation software lies in the degree to which a business is willing to adopt this technology. The more integrated it is in your day-to-day business, the more it can do for you.

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