Accounts payable is at the core of any business, and how smoothly AP processes are running can be the deciding factor between success and dysfunction.
Although many organizations have already begun to incorporate back-office automation tools, manual data entry and inefficient processes remain significant challenges for AP staff. Smarter AP processes powered by automation help to ensure smooth operations, fast response times, and fewer mistakes that could cause a process breakdown. Accounts payable automation can be achieved using various technologies to reduce the number of manual steps needed to complete the invoice-to-payment cycle successfully.
Where does intelligent document capture come in?
Let’s chat about invoices. The concept of intelligent capture for invoice processing goes something like this: paper invoices come in via mail and are scanned or the documents come in electronically, both only existing as flat images without any data values associated with them. Then, the software reads the electronic images via optical character recognition (OCR) and some applied logic to locate relevant data. Next, the software automatically extracts the information such as dates, vendor information, PO and invoice numbers, and payment amounts. This information is presented alongside the image for validation and confirmation of the quality of the image and the data. Once confirmed, and depending on your invoice approval process, invoice fields are transferred into your ERP, accounting system, or document management system (DMS) along with the scanned image.
The benefits of intelligent capture software
How can intelligent document capture positively impact your accounts payable processes? The perks of infusing technologies such as data capture, data extraction, automated workflow, with a seamless integration to ERP and other financial systems can help achieve the following:
Taking AP processes to the cloud reduces the staffing needed to process invoices by eliminating data entry and manual routing. Staff have more time to concentrate on other essential tasks, such as resolving exceptions and data analysis. Going digital also eliminates time spent searching for paper documents or approvals, reduces storage space and supply costs. Everything adds up, and automation dramatically reduces the cost to process invoices—from as much as $15 per invoice to less than $2.
By utilizing intelligent document capture, the manual process of transferring data from paper into software is eliminated, significantly reducing manual errors. By eliminating manual data entry, automation via intelligent capture also speeds the processing of invoices and eliminates challenges presented during even the busiest peak periods. Faster processing also reduces the burden of delinquent or duplicate payments, late fees, and even opens the door to the possibility of collecting discounts for early payments.
Nobody looks forward to an audit. But audits are significantly less disruptive in an electronic environment. Digitization of documents boosts transparency, since organizations can provide both staff and auditors with access to every version of a document, show any actions that were taken, and quickly review other details to ensure compliance with internal and industry policies and standards.
Improved data integrity via AI
AI/machine learning software enhances AP processes by capturing information, determining document types, and identifying related processes. OCR allows for the conversion of documents from a flat image format to a text-searchable version. Then, the software reads and extracts data and automatically associates document metadata with a relevant vendor file or form.
Let’s wrap it up
With the right technology, enhancing the effectiveness of your AP processes is an attainable goal. Using smart capture technologies, accounts payable staff can accelerate processes with the ability to capture document images from almost any device, automatically pull data they need, and make decisions based on validated data to send it downstream to other team members or applications. Scalability and integration with existing systems such as ERPs and DMSs are critical factors in uncovering your best-fit solution, and Upland Intelligent Capture has that covered, too. Reach out to us to see how it works and uncover strategies to help get your accounts payable processes up to speed today.
“Upland Intelligent Capture has allowed our customers to refocus their technology efforts toward enhancing the business workflow process by alleviating the everyday tasks of on-premise server maintenance and administration.”
President, DCMWare, Inc.
There’s more! Before you reach out, learn more about Upland Intelligent Capture by downloading our overview datasheet.
Concerned about data security? You should be. Read our blog, “5 Ways Capture Technology Increases Security” and get primed for more modern tech solutions.