With all this talk of automation in the news, it's not surprising there's confusion surrounding the exact meaning of automation—namely, accounts payable automation in the instance of you, the accounts payable professional.
AP automation is more than just capturing workflow and sending electronic payments. Accounts payable automation is a set of tools that go above and beyond the task of just paying suppliers and vendors electronically.
What separates and distinguishes premier automation tools is how it focuses on the more nuanced tasks; the everyday chores that comprise payables' workflow—reporting, remittance and data validation.
This is the true meaning of AP automation.
Once you've paid your suppliers and vendors electronically, AP automation continues by assisting accountants in reporting, remittance, and data validation.
In the realm of automation, reporting is much more than just a receipt or record of a payment. It's completely searchable, allowing managers to aggregate data, draw insights, and make intelligent decisions. It's easily accessible and searchable reporting is the cornerstone to analytics.
The ability to schedule reports is how managers and key decision makers can have those insights delivered directly to their inbox.
And by paving the path to analytics, automation clears a trail to auditing.
PO, invoice, and packing slips are searchable. Supplier payment details, including state and federal tax IDs, along with payment record is quickly accessed. Double payment, lost payment, under payment? Investigating escheatment issues are a few clicks away.
You just sent ACME Corp. electronic payment for that recent order of Wile E. Coyote-branded anvils. In the past, you'd print a copy of the invoice, rubber stamp it paid, stuff it in an envelope, and mail it off. But, where's the logic in sending a paper receipt for an electronic payment?
Automation saves time by automatically sending remittance alongside electronic payment. Rather than separately emailing remittance advice—or printing and mailing out remittance—automation handles that and sends remittance automatically after payment is sent.
Data validation, namely, supplier data validation is vital in curbing payment fraud.
This rings especially true for organizations experiencing rapid growth—which oftentimes lack the resources to validate each and every supplier payment before it's sent.
Simply put, knowing exactly who you're paying is the easiest way to prevent fraudulent payments from being issued. By automating the verification process, organizations can be confident in their payments, which goes a long way in improving supplier relations.
Having the most updated data supplier payment information helps keep supplier relations at an all-time high. Since supplier payment information is always up-to-date, payments can are sent immediately—with no break in interruption. This is especially reassuring if any particular supplier changes banks mid-month.
Money is, after all, the grease that keeps the gears of business turning smoothly—anything inhibiting the flow can bring an organization to a screeching halt.
Expect more out of accounts payable. Expect more out of AP automation.
About the Author
Ralph is a Research Analyst at Nvoicepay. He's passionate about marketing technology and creating engaging content that delivers value to the consumer.More Content by Ralph Perdomo