The above quote comes from one of our clients using our AP invoice automation service. Jokes aside, I think it hits the nail on the head in terms of why companies should prioritize automating the AP process – save time for your employees so that they can focus on more value-adding tasks.
Now, it’s not as easy as just implementing an AP automation solution. When it comes to automating the matching of invoices, it can actually get pretty tricky considering the different invoice formats, vendors, product codes, references, etc. But there are tools and tactics to help you on the way.
Imagine a world of touchless AP
Imagine a world where your vendor invoices all arrive in electronic format, float seamlessly through your AP workflow system, get automatically matched against purchase orders, contracts and receipts, then go straight through to your ERP for final posting and payment. Without anyone seeing or touching the actual invoice.
Sounds like a utopia? It is possible to get there but it’s no walk in the park – rather a bumpy road that you need to navigate over and over again. In order to take your invoice matching to the next level, you need to understand that there are many issues affecting invoice matching quality and you will need to work with continuous improvements in all areas of the AP process.
5 bumps in the road to fully automated invoice matching
Here are 5 areas that we recommend you work with in order to optimize your invoice matching quality. But there might be more – audit your AP process to identify the potential issues and bottlenecks in your process so that you can learn how to navigate these.
- Data quality
- Matching precision
- Manage exceptions
- ERP integration
- Changes in data feed
Check out this infographic for more details on each road bump and how to navigate it.
A bump-free road: true invoice matching
When you take your AP invoice matching to the next level, invoices will flow through the AP process seamlessly in a fully touchless process where the AP invoice automation system does all the heavy lifting behind the scenes. We call this true matching.
Our clients using the MediusFlow AP automation solution manage to reach an automation level of 70% on average, meaning that 70% of their invoices are processed through a fully automated and touchless process with no human interaction – not by the AP department nor by anyone else in the organization. In addition, by automating the AP process they have pared down the processing lead time to 7 days, counting from import of an invoice to posting in the ERP.
Top performers, companies who really focus on continuously improving their invoice matching process, will reach a 90%+ automation level and a lead time of only 2 days. That’s pretty impressive!
There are numerous benefits of increasing the automation level of your AP process, but I think the most obvious one is the time you save by reducing the manual workload and the most tedious tasks within the AP process. As the quote above suggests – let the system do the tasks that can be automated and let people focus on more enjoyable and rewarding parts of the job.
Imagine how much time you could save if 70% (or more) of your vendor invoices were taken care of by an automated process. What would you rather spend that time on?