Things You Need in AP Automation

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1 Things You Need in AP Automation ME LIKE! Let s Start!

2 Accounts payable processing has long been one of the most document- and laborintensive operations a company undertakes. It s riddled with manual data entry, complicated workflows and multiple associated documents. Fortunately, there s a better way: AP automation. At first glance, accounts payable processing seems fairly straightforward. An order is placed; a PO goes out; an invoice comes in; a shipment and packing slip arrive. Information from the invoice must be verified and entered into a system, with any necessary approvals. A check must be cut and recorded. Finally, all information must be confirmed the PO, for instance, needs to match the invoice and packing slip and records must be archived and sent to an accounting or ERP system. But with so many hands in the cookie jar, this can be incredibly cumbersome especially when the whole process depends on pieces of paper being routed from one person to the next. It s no wonder AP managers have nightmares of missing or duplicate invoices and incorrectly keyed in data. Fortunately, there s AP automation software. By automating manual tasks, streamlining workflows and integrating directly with systems of record, AP automation software suites can significantly reduce error rates and slash cost-per-invoice from $25 or more to only a few dollars. But not all AP automation is created equal.

3 The ideal AP automation system ties together a capture engine, document storage, rules-based routing and integration capabilities. An AP automation solution that meets these characteristics lets you realize better control and instant access to data at absolutely any point in the process, eliminate the risk of duplicate entries, significantly reduce the amount of manual work required and speed up payables making you eligible for early payment discounts on almost every invoice. To make sure you re getting a document management solution that truly facilitates accounts payable automation, look for these four must haves. Protecting the Cookie Jar An automated AP solution reduces the number of hands in the proverbial cookie jar and ensures the right person has access to the accounts payable data at the right time resulting in: Significantly improved data accuracy Effective process controls Fewer costs associated with manual data entry, processing, filing and retrieval Quick and easy invoice data capture

4 Advanced Capture Capabilities Manual data entry is the elephant in the accounts payable processing room. On one hand, there s not a system out there than can completely replace the human eye when ensuring accuracy. On the other hand, manual data entry reading and keying in numbers and letters, euphemistically called key from image is the most common way errors are introduced into the system. Fortunately, there are capture solutions that minimize and, in some situations, eliminate the riskiest manual data entry tasks. These start by digitizing invoices and normalizing data, ensuring a consistent workflow regardless of whether it s a paper document, a PDF or an . Key data can then be digitally extracted and pre-populated into the right fields. The best systems provide an opportunity for manual checks and balances via a side-byside view, where fields and source files are available for viewing simultaneously. With a system like this, vendor ID, invoice number, date, total, even line items are typically captured automatically. Data entry tasks are then a matter of reviewing for accurate capture a much simpler and faster proposition, improving both the speed and quality of the data entry team. And because files are digitized, they re easily stored in searchable, logical electronic archives, rather than endless filing cabinets.

5 Workflows That Work Document routing workflows are at the crux of a well-oiled accounts payable department. When the workflow is working, even a less-than-ideal process can run fairly smoothly (if not swiftly). And at this point, you know what works and what doesn t for your company. You shouldn t have to rewrite your workflows to fit with AP automation software. Look for a highly flexible AP automation suite that allows you to replicate what you currently have and then hands you the tools to make it better. A nimble AP automation solution that works in concert with your organization s practices, rules and culture will minimize learning curves and speed ROI. Workflow capabilities should make routing invoices for payment approvals based on business rules you set easy. Choose a trigger amount, particular vendor, etc. and an asignee, and create your rule. When an applicable document is scanned and verified, it will be shuttled to the right person automatically and instantly, significantly speeding the approvals process. No more walking a file folder across the building or ing attachments that have to be printed, signed and returned. An exceptional AP automation solution also lets you scale up your approvals SOP like a black belt. Where you might have done an acceptable minimum of approvals in the past and found the idea of adding more impossible the right AP software makes it easy to enact new rules that close gaps and further increase visibility into the process. Time Really is Money Early payment discounts are like free money. And who doesn t love free money? An invoice comes in, you pay within a particular time frame, and the vendor shaves some amount off the total. If your workflow doesn t hit the turn-around times required to get those discounts, you re missing out. It s not just a good idea to speed up accounts payable processing it makes good business sense. And you can actually get paid for it! MORE, MORE!

6 Accounting Integration If there is one thing you should absolutely be able to say about your AP automation solution, it s that it plays well with others. Cutting a check might make your vendors happy, but if it s incorrectly recorded in your internal accounting or ERP system, you ve got big problems. To close the accounts payable loop and ensure the financial team has all the right information for planning and projecting, look for an AP automation solution that integrates with industry-standard software like QuickBooks, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics and Oracle. Of course, you could rely on manual data entry to get the information from the AP automation system into the accounting system. But why? Integration ensures the exact information that appeared on the invoice also appears in the final accounting statements, eliminating an opportunity for data entry errors and saving you considerable time. Seamless integration also means you don t have to worry about importing and exporting or about changing formats to get the data from one system to the next. Easy Document Access for Verification Checks and balances are the bedrock on which finance and accounting departments function. There has to be a good way for your team to verify information is 100 percent accurate before it all flows into the core financial system. An accounts payable automation system that sits on a less-thansolid document management foundation might get you half way, but just won t have the controls and visibility required to turn the process from clunky to convenient. Legacy digital document management systems usually fall short when it comes to facilitating the review and verification tasks that are mission-critical for accounts payable processing and reporting. Paper-based systems? Even if you ve stapled a copy of your PO to the packing slip to the invoice, something still manages to go missing. And when assets are routing, good luck tracking down the information you need. Me SMART Now!

7 With an AP-ready document management system, it should be easy to associate all supporting documentation invoices, receipts, packing slips, and more not only with each other, but also with entries in the final accounting system. You want to create a permanent record of the relationship between documents so they are instantly accessible to authorized users at any point in the process. For example, an entry in QuickBooks should be one click away from the invoice and packing slip and any other source documents, as well as the approvals received along the way. Anything less is just, well, less. Ready to create unique efficiencies in your AP processing and save big? Meet Cabinet AP 2.0, the new accounts payable automation solution from the leader in enterprise-class document management. From advanced capture capabilities and routing capabilities to best-inclass document management, Cabinet AP is it. (800) LEARN MORE SCHEDULE A DEMO

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