Accounting teams and AP departments are bogged down. Between onboarding, invoice processing, handling paper checks, dealing with multi-step approval workflows, and monitoring cash flow, accounting employees are often overworked and bogged down with manual processes. Luckily, payment processes have evolved as electronic payments have grown to be significantly more popular, providing new technology resources and accounting software to help teams overcome the insurmountable work they often are tasked with. Accounts payable automation solutions are one of the most powerful tools that accounting teams can procure, helping them to accomplish more faster and without the stress.
What is payment automation?
Any process that allows your team to make vendor payments through automation is considered payment automation. Often through AP automation software, teams eliminate as much data entry and human intervention as possible, saving time for workers to focus on more vital tasks. Payment automation is a powerful tool that allows for real-time fraud prevention, instant insights, increased visibility, and a happier, more productive team!
How does payment automation work?
Depending on your accounts payable automation software, it can have many forms and functions to assist your team in processing payments. Most commonly, accounts payable systems that use automation help process and verify electronic invoices. Payment automation solutions can also help automate many AP processes including approval processes, Procure-to-Pay (P2P) workflows, and supplier invoice automation which helps teams hit early payment discounts.
Why is payment automation beneficial?
AP automation solutions can help streamline an accounting team's workflows, speed up payment processes, and allow for accurate and precise audit trails. Instead of being overwhelmed by piles of paperwork, automation helps your team move past the paper and focus on other tasks such as risk reduction. Here are just a few of the reasons why automated accounting systems can help your company:
Faster cycle times
Efficient processing of all types of payments - from credit cards and virtual cards to wire transfers and ACH payments - is vital to the profitability and health of a great accounting team. Through automation, payments will be significantly more efficient, bringing in more discounts and keeping vendors happy.
Relying on only already-overloaded employees to also become fraud detectors means that inevitably things may slip through the cracks. Automation helps not only keep an accurate audit log but can detect fraud in real-time, protecting your company. Some automation programs implement optical character recognition (OCR) to check for mismatching invoices and data entry issues at the character level, even within PDFs. On top of automation's power, reducing the time your team focuses on manual data entry means they have more opportunities to improve risk reduction!
Cheaper transactions & lower fees
Automating transactions helps save your company money, allowing your team to scale as your company does without as much paperwork piling up. Paying suppliers faster also means more discounts, leading to more money-saving for your accounting department. Fast payment cycles and positive experiences can lead to better vendor relationships, which often can mean better pricing for your team in the long run (especially compared to teams that occasionally pay late).
Reduced errors & less manual work
Eliminating manual ap practices reduces costly human error, which can lead to incorrect invoice data entry, late payments, and other issues throughout the accounts payable process. Less manual data entry also means that employees can focus on developing vendor relationships or other crucial tasks!
Happier suppliers & vendors
From faster payment cycles to increased employee interaction, supplier relationships often improve after implementing accounting automation. As employees spend more time focusing on human points of contact, they can grow vendor relationships and foster vital long-term partnerships. Just paying vendors quickly and painlessly can dramatically boost client ties.
Which accounts payable tasks you should automate first
When looking at implementing your first automation tools, there are specific tasks that can make a huge impact. Here are the functions that we think will benefit your company and team the most by being automated:
Invoices, purchase orders, and many of the other documents that your team handles on a daily basis can be optimized by being digitized. Using automated data capture means that your incoming physical invoices can be scanned in and that all of your incoming and outgoing documents are analyzed to give you more accurate visibility.
PO and supporting document matching
Document matching prevents fraud, but accounting teams struggle to find time to do extremely details character-by-character checks on POs and supporting documents. Automation can help do document matching through tools like OCR instantly, warning your team of any suspicious mismatches in real-time.
Storing files in an organized, up-to-date system can make a huge difference in other parts of your accounting department. From financial analysis to fraud detection and audit compliance, keeping a secure database of all incoming and outgoing files is crucial for the health of your company. Implementing automation can easily help store files in a way that is not only easily searchable but consistently backed up and securely stored!
Approval workflows are extremely crucial to make as streamlined as possible. While saving time for your team is a huge deal, saving even moments of time for the C-Suite executives can not only benefit the company significantly but positively highly the technological changes of your department. Automation can help your team create optimized approval workflows with user-friendly interfacing, allowing for executives to easily approve documents while keeping all parties notified of progress (and only when they need to be notified)!
How does payment automation affect the future of AP?
As the technology surrounding business continues to dramatically push us into the future of commerce and global transactions, accounting teams will be overburdened if not also given these constantly developing tools. Automation and AI continue to help teams be more efficient, accurate, and scalable. By detecting discrepancies between documents, correcting human error, and empowering teams to focus on tasks requiring human intervention, automation helps your team rise to the growing challenges of the accounting world.
While many teams worry that implementing automation sets the stage for the automation of their role, many automation tools are designed to work alongside of an already-established automation team so that they can be more effective. Rather than fret about the rise of automation meaning the future loss of jobs, more realistically it should be seen as a shift from tedious manual data entry to a focus on the more human points of contact within automation that are so crucial for a high-level accounting team!
Automate payments with Routable
Routable helps your team work more efficiently through its automated payment features and tools. Using automation helps clear up time for your team, letting them focus on supplier relationships and risk reduction rather than tedious manual data entry. Through its powerful API, Routable allows for API bulk processing, letting your team scale whether processing one payment or thousands. By choosing between emailing invoices into the tool, scanning them, or uploading individual items or batch files, Routable lets your team work their way.
By connecting directly into your existing accounting software, Routable lets you automate B2B payments without disrupting your entire tech stack. Allowing you to use both accounts payable and accounts receivable automation depending on your needs, Routable is flexible to your teams needs while integrating with their existing workflows. Our program even helps ensure your accounting software stays up-to-date, protecting you from outdated technology that can cause security risks or technical issues down the road.
Payment automation is the future of accounting, protecting your company while also helping financial teams work more efficiently. Say goodbye to time-draining manual entry and piles of invoices, let your employees focus on more vital tasks so that they can excel! Payment automation makes vendors happier, prevents fraud, saves money, and facilitates faster cycle times. Using a program like Routable can revolutionize your team and its capabilities.
When implementing Routable, customers saw 40% saved on the total cost of bill payments and mass payouts. Equally as impressive, customers saw a 70% reduction in repetitive, manual tasks that often bog a team down and prevents them from crucial tasks. Routable aims to make the transition to automated payments painless, integrating into your current software and workflow to reduce training costs and allowing your team to work in whatever way is best for them.
Want to learn how Routable can help your AP team be more efficient through automated payments? Request a demo.