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Paying money out of your business account and into another is one area where you definitely don’t want to make a mistake. However, accounts payable is also an area so laden with manual processes that mistakes are not only inevitable – they’re common.

Mistakes may occur due to incorrect data entry, a skipped step in the process (such as approvals or purchase order matching), or any number of manual errors.

The problem is that inaccuracies in accounts payable do present substantial risks to a business, such as:

  • lost revenue due to double payments.
  • lost time due to payments made to wrong accounts
  • late payments leading to late fees
  • unhappy suppliers

Manual accounts payable processes also frequently come with a complete lack of oversight, meaning a higher potential for fraud or non-compliance.

Any business that still uses traditional methods, such as spreadsheets, to manage accounts payable is likely to experience these issues. As much as 88% of spreadsheets contain errors, with even the most carefully formulated ones still having errors in at least 1% of or more of all formula cells.

Luckily, advances in technology mean businesses and AP professionals no longer need to rely on legacy tools like spreadsheets or clunky proprietary systems to manage the accounts payable process.

Opportunity to standardise and streamline your process

Accounts payable automation, also known as AP automation, has become increasingly popular in recent years as businesses look for ways to streamline their finance processes. By automating the accounts payable function, businesses can reduce the amount of time and resources needed to process invoices and make payments. In addition, automated accounts payable can help to improve accuracy and efficiency by eliminating manual data entry and providing a centralized repository for all invoices. By automating Accounts Payable, businesses can improve their bottom line while freeing up time and resources to focus on other areas of their business. So, what is AP automation? It refers to the process of using technology and software to automate various tasks and workflows involved in the accounts payable process, such as invoice processing, payment approvals, and vendor management.

Eliminate inaccuracies with AP automation

A 2020 study by Ardent Partners and Canon found that 55% of business leaders believe the accounts payable function is “very” or “exceptionally” valuable to operations. 76% also say they believe smarter systems are the key to success – yet the majority of AP departments still face daily manual tasks that drain the time and energy of the team and leave the door wide open for inaccuracies.

This is highly unfortunate when research also tells us that companies using smart systems, such as AP automation, see results such as:

As an example, the accounts payable team at a large utility company was handling tens of thousands of invoices that were received manually by email before being inputted into the internal system. As the company dealt with thousands of vendors – each with their own invoice template – analysts had to manually check and verify every. single. invoice.

By implementing AP automation, invoice data is now pre-populated into the internal system. This and other functionality have since decreased workload in the department by 60%, with a 90% success rate of invoice data extraction and a complete elimination of manual errors.

Powered by advanced technology, AP automation is able to:

  • Capture data in any format (PDF, paper, email, digital)
  • Extract data with near perfect accuracy
  • Validate invoices to mitigate fraud, remove duplicates, realise early discounts, and avoid payment penalties
  • Direct invoices through to the correct approval contacts
  • Pay and report to drive improved visibility, compliance and control

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Better data visibility and insight

Automated accounts payable (AP) solutions offer a number of advantages over traditional manual AP processes. Perhaps most significantly, automated AP solutions provide better data visibility and insights. With automated AP, organizations can track payments, invoices, and other data points in real-time, which gives them a much clearer picture of their financial health. This enhanced visibility can help organizations make more informed strategic decisions about where to allocate their resources. In addition, automated AP solutions often include robust reporting features that give organizations even more insights into their spending patterns. Overall, automated AP provides a number of benefits that can help organizations improve their financial management.

Accounts Pain-able no more

Canon Business Services is proud to offer an AP automation solution with all of the above capabilities, including the ability to completely configure the platform to meet your business’s unique needs.

Our solution has a guaranteed 98.5% minimum data accuracy, so a full return on investment can be achieved through the elimination of manual errors alone.

In addition, your business will see a significant decrease in the cost to process an invoice, while making the most of early payment rewards offered by vendors and preventing late payment fees.

Importantly, you will also see a huge reduction in the man hours required to complete invoice processing tasks – so you can direct your staff to higher value work that ensures your business keeps innovating and remains competitive in your sector.

There are no upfront licensing costs or need to licence our AP automation solution, and its cloud-based so you can rest assured you will always be working with the latest version.

It’s AP, but pain-free.

To start a conversation about AP automation in your business, contact us.

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