There are many types of automation:
- ‘Basic’ automation: which takes simple, rudimentary tasks and automates them
- ‘Process’ automation: which manages business processes to uniform operations and provide transparency
- Integration’ automation: which mimics human tasks and repeat actions and rules defined by humans
- ‘AI’ automation: the most complex form, that learns and makes decisions based on past situations.
Automation can bring significant benefits to organisations, particularly in Accounts Payable (AP) processes, yet so many rely on manual methods to complete these tasks.
Discover 10 benefits of automation for procurement when applied to the AP function, according to Quandary Consulting Group.
A valuable asset to all businesses, applying automation to the AP function helps organisations to save time, by reducing the need for manual intervention and increasing the completion speed.
The function can also reduce the amount of unnecessary, menial tasks, “Things like searching for lost documents, manual data transfers between spreadsheets, manually hunting down the right team member to sign off on a purchase will become a distant memory. Instead, you'll have more time to focus on more meaningful tasks,” said Quandary Consulting Group.
2. Cost savings
With the help of AP automation software, procurement can streamline the invoicing process, reducing the time it takes to process an invoice. As such organisations can pay their vendors faster who often offer early payment discounts.
3. Reducing human error
With the use of automation, procurement can be precise. Automation greatly reduces the chance of human error. “As a result, you won't need to worry as much about delays, missed payments, or other forms of friction caused by data entry errors when processing invoices,” explained Quandary Consulting Group.
They add: “AP automation can also process more invoices without needing more employees. So, you can keep your back office staff small and have more money to invest in other systems.”
It is reported that automation can reduce invoice costs by 50 - 80%.
“And if your organisation is looking for ways to stay green while cutting costs, you can eliminate printing, paper, and storage costs for physical copies. With AP automation, all your documents will be digital,” noted Quandary Consulting Group.
4. Supply chain transparency
By using a single system, organisations can access and track all their data with ease. Organisations can benefit from the ability to review employee and vendor productivity, compare performance over time, and ensure that everyone’s roles are being fulfilled.
“Plus, you can reduce the risk of fraud,” explained Qunadary Consulting Group. “There are no stacks of paper for invoices to ‘get lost’ in. There are no special deals between employees and vendors on the side. And it's much harder to fabricate spending.”
5. Improved data accuracy
“No one enjoys manually inputting data. It's boring, time-consuming, and repetitive. As a result, people make mistakes. It happens all the time. And the chances of errors happening multiply with each person involved in the process,” stressed Quandary Consulting Group.
AP automation helps organisations to increase the accuracy of their data to generate meaningful insights and make data-driven decisions, as well as validate data to ensure accuracy.
6. Real-time insights
Alongside improved data accuracy, procurement can benefit from greater connectivity. AP processes and tools create a complex web, automation software connects multiple data silos to provide better reporting capabilities and complete insights.
“With real-time insights, you'll empower your AP team by giving them the data they need to remain agile and make proactive changes that give your company the edge,” said Quandary Consulting Group.
7. Enhanced compliance
Procurement and supply chains are a complex environment, one that is increasingly gaining more stringent standards and regulations to stay compliant with. AP automation makes it easier to keep sensitive data secure and protected.
“With AP automation, you can secure your data in an encrypted system while setting up additional security features for access [...] You can even add alerts for suspicious activities,” explained Qunadary Consulting Group.
8. Low-cost data storage
Storage of physical records can cost organisations thousands to maintain. With recommendations to keep records for up to seven years, AP automation software provides a digital and streamlined way of keeping records.
“This allows your company to easily migrate all of your records to an easily searchable cloud storage space. As a result, you'll have more room in your office without rows of filing cabinets everywhere,” noted Quandary Consulting Group.
9. Simple integrations
AP automation software is typically an easily integrated solution. Organisations can benefit from smooth data transfers between ERP, financial and other business systems.
10. Improved morale among employees
AP automation frees up an employee's time by taking over the monotonous tasks, freeing up time for them to focus on the value-add activities.
“Your team will feel less stressed as they work on tasks that make them feel successful,” said Quandary Consulting Group.