The words, "AP Automation" seem to mean different things, to different people.
Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking to a number of Accounts Payable Professionals at trade events. In discussing AP Automation with them on several occasions the reply was, "We already do that" and I thought to myself, "What is it you do?" "We already have AP Automation".
When asked to describe how they're automated the answer was, "Our vendors email us the invoice electronically, so there's no more paper". I thought, "Interesting".
When discussing further I asked how invoices that needed approval got approved? And how the GL coding was handled? We took the conversation a little further and I asked if invoices with PO's need to be matched and how that processed worked? And then finally how did the invoice data get entered into the financial system for payment processing?
Well, it seems that all of those nice, neat, electronic invoices had to be printed to paper and the paper invoices were used to get approvals. In some cases the invoices were emailed, printed, written on, scanned, emailed back to the AP department and printed again. This process happened over and over again.
When Purchase Order invoices needed to be matched 2 or 3-way, not only were the invoices printed out the AP Clerk wrote all over the invoice in pencil and ticked off every line item and made adjustments on the invoice.
Lastly, in order to get the invoice details into the financial system for payment processing an AP Clerk manually entered all of the information from the paper invoice, one-at-a-time.
Now, I know what you're thinking. I thought this too! Where is the automation?
With true AP Automation there is little to no manual intervention, there is no printing of electronic invoices, there is no wasted time on the back and forth for approvals, invoice matching is performed systematically without the need for intervention and if an invoice doesn't pass the business rules then that invoice is automatically sent to the person responsible and lastly, there is no manual data entry when AP Automation is done correctly.
By having vendors email PDF copies of invoices is certainly better than receiving paper invoices via the postal service, but think about all of the other steps that occur when invoices need to be approved and processed.
This is why "EMAIL is NOT AP Automation"! Email is email.
For more information about AP Automation or How to Take Your Emailed Invoices to the NEXT Level register for one of our informational webinars or contact us directly.
Vision360 Enterprise Accounts Payable Automation Solution by BlueCreek Software reduces time wasted chasing down paper invoices by automating invoice approvals, eliminating manual data entry, eliminating paper invoices and reducing processing costs.