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5 signs you need to automate your accounts payable process
Implementing invoice automation software can help you free up time for the things that really matter to your business.
Processing creditor invoices is a huge cost to businesses. According to a report by Infometrics and Research New Zealand, it costs businesses around $26 to process a paper invoice and $23 for an emailed PDF invoice. The cost is largely due to the amount of time taken. There’s also the opportunity cost to consider. If your business could reduce the time spent processing invoices, think of what you could achieve with the time saved.
So, how can you free up time for the things that really matter to your business? By implementing invoice automation software.
What is invoice automation?
Invoice automation is the streamlined process of extracting data from invoices, pushing that data online and checking it, then releasing invoices for payment. But not all invoice automation systems are equal. Data accuracy depends on the technology used to read invoices, as well as the back-end systems to check and approve invoices. The definition of invoice automation can also vary. For some businesses, it's just extracting critical data from invoices without human input. For others, invoice automation refers to a fully automated procure-to-pay workflow.
Indications that your business could benefit from invoice automation
1. Frustrated staff
Is your business manually processing more than 300 creditor invoices per month? If so, it’s likely that the person responsible for data entry is finding it tedious. What’s more, your staff are your most important asset. By freeing up their time for more valuable tasks, you can maximise the potential of your employees, increasing their productivity as well as helping them to be more fulfilled in their work.
2. Remote work difficulties
Covid lockdowns have taught us that business must be able to operate remotely to survive. Plus, it’s common for businesses to have staff who are frequently on the road, working on location, or working from home to fit in with family life. This means it’s crucial that anyone in your team can access the information and systems they need, from anywhere.
For a business currently relying on a manual AP system, working away from the office will cause headaches. How are you sending documents like POs, receipts, delivery notes and invoices between locations? Where this is being done via post, email, or file-sharing, there are efficiencies to be gained. A centralised platform that holds all your procurement documents and related communications will transform your workflow and make working remotely a breeze.
3. Struggling to meet deadlines
There are two missed deadlines which can flag the need for automation. The first is regularly incurring late payment fees for invoices. If your business isn't experiencing cashflow issues or using your suppliers as a credit facility (let’s hope not!), then your AP workflow may be too manual or complex. By streamlining your workflow and automating repetitive tasks, you can reduce your procure-to-pay cycle time.
The second deadline is month-end close. If every month it’s a struggle to close your books, then invoice automation can help ease the stress. With an automated AP system that integrates with your accounting software, you can drop data entry and stop double-handling documents.
4. Lack of visibility
At any time, do you know how many invoices are awaiting approval? Which invoices are being queried and why? For many businesses, accounts payable can feel like a scramble in the dark. Information is buried in stack of paper or digital files that aren’t easily accessible. With the right cloud-based invoice automation platform, you’ll have real-time answers to these questions with a few clicks. In addition, a centralised system will increase accountability for your staff, empowering them to take informed actions off their own bat.
5. Plans for growth
Let’s imagine your business is twice or even ten times the size it is right now. Would you still be doing things in the same way? Invoice automation lets you scale your business without needing to bring on additional accounts payable staff. If you have plans to grow, then implementing invoice automation now will put you in an advantageous position. Not only will you be able to handle additional invoice volumes with ease, but you’ll also reduce the number of errors. In addition, a smart invoice automation platform will give you insights into your spending that will make future decisions much easier.
Choose the right tool
Lentune is a smart business automation platform that gives you back control over your account payable process. The number one comment from Lentune customers is that they wish they’d implemented invoice automation sooner. So, if any of these five indications resonate with you, get in touch with us to schedule a demo.