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6 Ways BPO Improves Your AP Processes

Improve your accounts payable processes with business process outsourcing

Accounts payable processes often require a lot of document shuffling. Having these documents processed manually reduces efficiency, increases errors, raises costs, and often creates a lack of transparency into your invoice processes. An easy, reliable remedy for that? Business process outsourcing (BPO).

With BPO, it’s possible to forward paper and digital invoices to a trusted partner for processing. This partner will receive, digitize, and index your invoices. If desired, they can also kick off automated processing and routing to the appropriate person for review, effectively handling nearly the entire invoice process.

By outsourcing to a trusted BPO partner with AP automation expertise, you can gain several benefits.

1. Keep up with invoices

Managing and paying all of your invoices is a demanding job. Regardless of volume, companies need to maintain fast turnaround times. Outsourcing your mailroom is a great way to process documents quicker and automate AP processes. Mailed or emailed invoices can be received, opened, and routed by BPO experts to easily meet turnaround requirements during your normal business cycle, peak seasons, acquisitions, and periods of rapid company growth. Purchase order (PO) invoices can be processed automatically, freeing up your AP staff’s time to focus on more value-added work. Decision makers can quickly track and approve invoices on a desktop or mobile device with a single click.

Most companies that implement AP automation see a dramatic reduction in invoice processing time. One study by Levvel found that the average processing time for an invoice was reduced from 45 days to only 5.

2. Save on overhead costs and reduce late fees

Even if you’re keeping up with payments, retaining good records, and maintaining a pristine payment history with your suppliers, there’s always your bottom line to consider. According to The Institute of Finance and Management Report, the average invoice costs $15 to process manually, but less than $3 to process digitally.

If your team is backlogged, you could be charged late fees and lose out on early payment discounts. Receiving, sorting, and distributing time-sensitive mail and emails is almost never a good use of an employee’s time, as it takes away from their core tasks and often results in having to hire additional staff. But if you outsource the most tedious work to experts, then the critical tasks—review and approval—can be streamlined. Late payments, missed discounts, and hiring additional staff are a thing of the past with process outsourcing.

3. Improve visibility

With optical character recognition (OCR) technology, your BPO partner can input your information into your accounting software, making it accessible within seconds. This makes it much easier to retrieve a specific document, reduces document processing time, and eliminates data entry mistakes. Ultimately, this leads to some strategic insights, such as:

  • Invoice status: Identify which invoices are in process, who’s processing what, and how productive your team is.
  • Problem vendors: Find which vendors have a history of duplicate invoices and invoices that don’t match proof of shipment or delivery statements.
  • Cash forecasts: Track and anticipate your spending. It pays to know in advance when major bills are coming.
  • Load forecasts: Determine which times of the month are especially busy. This will help you prioritize critical invoices.

4. Make compliance easy

Delegating mail-related tasks to a trusted outsourcing partner can make document retention and audits easier than ever before. With a digital mailroom, your incoming invoices can be imaged, indexed, and uploaded to a document management system, ERP, or line-of-business system for secure storage and immediate accessibility from your computer or mobile device. This would allow you to quickly access paid invoices and better prepare for audits.

5. Strengthen relationships with vendors

Timely payments are the backbone of your relationships with suppliers and having a good system for making payments on time shows respect, reliability, and a commitment to your long-term business engagement. Some vendors are irreplaceable, and being late to pay is one of the fastest ways to ruin your credibility as a buyer. A digital mailroom is a great way to make sure that every invoice, whether mailed or emailed, is promptly opened and queued up for approval. Expert BPO companies with AP automation experience can ensure that none of them ever falls by the wayside.

6. Increase productivity

A survey conducted by Clutch found that for 27% of small businesses, improving efficiency is a top motivation for outsourcing. With scanning services and a cloud document management solution, employees can access scanned invoices from anywhere. Teams can efficiently work together regardless of their location, whether that be spread out across regional offices or working from home.

Your BPO Partner

For most businesses, accounts payable is an auxiliary function—a necessary part of running a business, but not the focus of organizational expertise. Increasingly, business process outsourcing is allowing companies to save money in areas like invoicing and dedicate more of their limited resources to core business functions.

The key to achieving these benefits is finding the right BPO partner. With over 30 years of experience in document scanning and workflow automation, MetaSource is a global leader in digital transformation. Our digital solutions can be easily incorporated into your accounts payable department to streamline its processes. As a SOC 2 Type 2 certified and HIPAA compliant company, our processes are audited annually by a third party, ensuring service quality and document security.

Contact MetaSource to find out how to start outsourcing your AP automation or download a free Step-by-Step Guide to AP Automation to learn more about how going paperless is easier with a trusted partner at your side.

Your Step-by-Step Guide to Accounts Payable Automation

We will guide you through every step of the AP automation process so that you feel prepared for what’s ahead and confident every step of the way.