How to Free Yourself from the Drudgery of Invoice Processing

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If it is taking your accounts payables department more time to approve invoices, you are not alone.

One-third of accounts payable practitioners are working longer hours these days 1 . That is on top of the long days most accounts payable professionals worked before the onset of the pandemic. 8% of accounts payable practitioners are working an additional two or more hours per day.

The growing accounts payable workload can largely be attributed to the operational disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced departments to quickly adapt their processes and procedures to address new ways of working, new challenges and risks, and new economic pressures.

It has been hard to adapt paper-based processes to remote working arrangements.

While departments are largely getting the work done, the way they are doing it gives accounts payable leaders pause. One-quarter of accounts payable leaders fear the way they are operating during the pandemic is creating new fraud and compliance risks 2 . 22% of accounts payable departments are experiencing a spike in phone calls and e-mails from cash-strapped suppliers inquiring about the status of invoices and payments. One-in-four leaders say that the move to a remote working arrangement is making it harder to pay suppliers on time. And 6% of leaders say they cannot provide senior management with the visibility they need into cashflow and spending.

The challenges created by the pandemic are on top of the inefficiencies that most accounts payable departments faced before the pandemic. There are a lot of interdependent tasks that go into getting suppliers paid. Accounts payable departments need to onboard suppliers, keep the vendor master up to date, stay in compliance with tax regulations, keep track of invoice approvals, communicate with suppliers regarding the status of invoices, reconcile payments, and more – all while being mindful of the dozens of policies, rules and regulations that must be followed when approving supplier invoices.
Making matters worse, most accounts payable departments rely on manual or semi-automated approaches to processing invoices. Only 9% of accounts payable departments describe themselves as being fully automated, with few or no manual processes 3 . Most departments approve and post invoices using a mix of automation and lots of manual processes, often relying on siloed and antiquated solutions that address only a small part of the invoice lifecycle. 6% of accounts payable departments have little automation. 14% of departments have no automation.

It is no wonder that 84% of an accounts payable practitioner’s day is wasted on tedious manual activities such invoice data entry and paper shuffling 4 . In fact, accounts payable leaders often spend more time each day on transaction processing than on the managerial tasks they were hired for.
It does not have to be this way.

A new breed of digital technology automates the invoice approval and posting process end-to-end, from the receipt of an invoice through entry into an enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform.

The technology can validate PO and non-PO invoices as well as exceptions. And it can digitally route invoices that require approval and keep track of invoice status and operational performance.

With this digital technology, accounts payable staff only intervene when necessary.

This frees accounts payable staff from the drudgery of manual tasks. As a result, staff have more time for higher-value activities such as cashflow analysis and building supplier relationships – the types of things that will be critical to helping businesses navigate the post-pandemic economy.
If automation is in your plans, we want to show you how easy it can be.
1 IOFM Virtual Town Hall Meeting, 6/21/20
2 IOFM Virtual Town Hall Meeting, 4/27/20
3 IOFM Virtual Town Hall Meeting, 6/21/20
4 IOFM AP Department Benchmarking Report
Join us on August 18, 2020 as Industry Analyst, Mark Brousseau, conducts a live video interview with the CEO of HighIQ, Pawan Singh, on how a new breed of digital technology transforms invoice processing.

Click the button below to register for the video interview.

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