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How Accounts Payable Automation Speeds Up Invoice Processing

Improve invoice processing with a digital mailroom solution

In today’s digital workplace, companies receive invoices by email at a higher rate than ever before. Even so, many still insist on printing electronic invoices before processing them, which creates more work and costs companies both time and money.

Bringing electronically-received invoices into the physical realm opens up organizations to the same problems they face with paper: lost invoices, late payments, duplicate payments, long processing times, and a comprehensive lack of transparency and visibility into the accounts payable process.

Instead of printing these invoices out and adding to manual work, companies have realized that accounts payable automation is a better way forward. Processing is faster and human error is reduced, giving companies an advantage over their competitors. In fact, accounts payable automation can significantly reduce invoice processing time from 45 days to just 3 days, costing 3x less than manual processing.

Here’s how AP automation can expedite invoice processing and, in turn, reduce costs for your organization:

Streamline Invoice Preparation

Whether a firm receives their invoices via paper mail or email, digital formatting must take place before workflow automation can begin. And without an effective accounts payable automation solution, the process is a long one.

With paper invoices, mail has to be opened and scanned before invoice data is manually keyed into the accounting system to begin automated processing. This consumes a significant amount of time, is prone to errors, and takes away from employees’ core tasks.

With electronic invoices, things are a little more complicated. Electronic documents can arrive in any number of file types, such as PDF, JPG, HTML, Word document, TIFF, and email body copy, but TIFF images work best with workflow automation software. Because of this, any invoice arriving in a different file type must be converted to a TIFF image prior to automation.

That might not sound like much, but the electronic document conversion process can be tedious and time-consuming for those organizations that don’t specialize in it.

That’s why companies partner with trusted accounts payable automation solution providers who do specialize in it. An experienced partner can help you streamline invoice preparation and realize faster processing right from the beginning. Much faster, at that: one Levvel (formerly PayStream Advisors) study found that within 5-10 business days, 40% of invoices handled by third-party scanning providers are processed, compared to 10% of those handled in-house with on-site data entry. That’s 4x more invoices being processed over the same amount of time. This improvement in processing speed can be a big help when it’s time for businesses to talk to suppliers or manage finances and cash flow.

Eliminate Costly Errors

With an automated invoice processing solution, a third-party partner monitors invoices daily from a dedicated inbox. From the inbox, converted invoices are imported to automation software for processing.

After the emails are stripped of their attachments and necessary invoice data has been captured, the emails themselves will be housed in a database for future needs. If multiple files are included in an email, your AP automation partner can separate them manually to ensure nothing is missed.

The result? Fewer errors! And with less errors comes faster invoice processing. This means your staff can reduce late fees, increase data entry accuracy to 99%, and capture early payment discounts.

Access Invoices Remotely

Remote work has become the norm since the COVID-19 disruption. According to a Flexjobs survey, 65% of people who worked from home during the pandemic prefer to continue working remotely.

With a manual AP process, accounts payable teams can’t take advantage of a remote work model. AP automation, on the other hand, makes invoices accessible anywhere, on any device, and ensures continuous workflows. This enables remote work, increases productivity, and improves processing times, regardless of where employees work.

Gain Real-Time Insight Into Cash Flow

You can shorten invoice processing times, reduce costs, and make better decisions with real-time access to AP data. Comptrollers can budget more efficiently when they can easily obtain information on invoice aging, cash flow, and productivity. Access to real-time data can also help eliminate bottlenecks and expedite processing since your employees will no longer need to wait for the information they need – it’ll be right at their fingertips!

How MetaSource Can Help with AP Automation

With over 30 years of experience, MetaSource is a global leader in digital transformation, bringing the right mix of technology, expertise, and services that will help you streamline invoice processing and achieve your business goals. 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 easily implement AP automation for your business, or download our Guide to Improving Your Accounts Payable Process to learn more about how streamlining invoice processing can save you significant time and money.

Download the Improve Your Accounts Payable Process With a Digital Mailroom