Paperless AP

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Face it! Paper invoices belong in the past

In today’s modern business world one might be surprised that suppliers are still sending paper invoices. In some regions of the world paper mail is still the most common invoicing method. But this does not mean your accounts payable team needs to be stuck with paper stacks on their desks and late-night shifts of manual data entry. Best-in-class AP teams leverage modern technology to remove these manual steps from their AP process so that they never need to see a paper invoice again.

Why you need to ban paper invoices

Handling paper invoices in a manual process is time consuming and full of risks for errors that may hurt your business in multiple ways. These are just a few examples:

  • Data entry errors leading to inaccuracies in finance books and reports
  • Risk of fraudulent invoices being paid by mistake
  • Late payments to suppliers resulting in fees and missed discounting opportunities
  • Double payments may happen when those suppliers send a reminder or send invoices to multiple office locations
  • Lost or misplaced invoices (stuck in someone’s mailbox) negatively affecting supplier relationships and supply chain stability
  • Late or incorrect closing of books when AP is struggling to get the accurate data together for month and year-end reporting
  • Inability to provide accurate numbers on accruals and cash flow for key financial reports

Invoice data capture is the first step

In order to get rid of paper in the AP process you need to start with the invoice reception. There are many solutions on the market for invoice scanning and data capture. These will help you transform paper invoices (or any other invoice format such as pdf and e-invoices) into data in a unified digital format. The important invoice information is captured using intelligent technology and pre-configured business logic.

Once the invoice data is available in a digital format, the fun can start! Now you’re set to revolutionize your AP process using tools to accelerate and automate many of those steps that was previously managed manually.

Setting up invoice data capture for successful automation

When selecting and setting up a solution for invoice data capture, make sure to consider the next step: an automated AP workflow. Transforming invoices from paper to digital format will help take out some of the pains of a manual process, but far from all. If you can digitize the most detailed, line-level invoice data you will be in a good position to implement highly automated invoice processing workflows. This means having your AP automation solution do the heavy work of validating, coding, matching and distributing the majority of invoices while you can focus on dealing with only those invoices that need expert’s eyes on them or an additional control step.

Be aware that reaching high levels of automation requires an invoice data capture solution that can provide the right level of details and accuracy. It’s important that you think through the entire process of invoice data capture and invoice processing workflow to ensure you have a good understanding of the data requirements for each step of the process.

Get started on your journey towards paperless AP

If you’re ready to take the next step, sign up to our e-learning series: Remove paper from your AP process

The e-learning series will help you understand:

  • How you can get rid of paper by centralizing and digitizing your invoice capture process
  • The cost of handling paper (hence the savings you can achieve)
  • How a paperless AP process increases visibility and control of financial reporting

Sign up to the e-learning series

Jenny Gruvfält

Jenny Gruvfält

AP Automation Editor

jenny.gruvfalt@medius-group.com