Approval Workflow

The Future of Finance: Advantages of Invoice Approval Automation

by Envoice
10 min read
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In the dynamic world of accounts payable, innovation is not just a buzzword but a necessity. Imagine a world where the exhaustive, paper-laden process of managing invoices transforms into a streamlined, efficient workflow.

This isn’t just wishful thinking; it’s a reality crafted by automation. The Institute of Finance and Management once referred to the accounts payable process as the most labor-intensive and paperwork-heavy task in finance and administration. [1]

But now, we stand on the brink of a revolution.

Automation is not just tweaking the system; it’s reinventing it. Hours of manual labor condensed into minutes of automated precision. How is this possible?

How Invoice Processing Automation Works

To demonstrate how the process works, we’ll use Envoice as our chosen automation tool.

1. Whether the invoice arrives as an email attachment, is uploaded through an expense management platform, or is scanned via a mobile app, Envoice can automatically extract the necessary data.

As long as the invoice is in the right format – be it an image or PDF file – Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology extracts the data, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) matching ensures accurate mapping to the appropriate fields.

For greater accuracy, you can add a human touchpoint to validate information.

2. Business rules kick in next. You can customize rules that will apply to all invoices received through the platform. You can base business rules to make invoice processing more efficient and automatically allocate expenses to certain categories.

3. At this point, the invoice enters the workflow approval. You can set up rules at this point as well, so recurring invoices can have instant approval. In cases where invoices don’t fall under predefined rules, they can be directed to designated approvers or substitute approvers.

4. Once approved, all invoices seamlessly integrate into the accounting or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for posting.

Discover how Envoice speeds up invoice processing through automation – Register for the free trial now. Just enter your email address and you’re all set.

 

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With this innovative approach, businesses create a more streamlined, efficient, and intelligent accounts payable system that aligns with the evolving needs of modern organizations.

Let’s dive into the specifics and see how automated invoicing improves processes for your AP team.

Top Benefits of Automated Invoice Processing

Here’s why an automated invoice approval workflow unlocks advantages for your organization.

Automated Invoice Capture Eliminates Manual Data Entry

Automation helps your AP teams move away from a system that relies on manual processing. Introducing modern technologies like automation and AI cuts down manual work that needs to happen when you receive invoices from a supplier.

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Highly automated companies have a straight-through processing rate of 71%. What this means is that 71% of invoices received through an expense management platform, like Envoice, move from invoice received to approved without human touch.

Why Manual Invoicing Processes Slow You Down

A manual process would typically take hours due to steps like:

  • Entering invoice data into the system
  • Checking if the expense meets the expense policy
  • Routing invoices for approval
  • Addressing concerns or questions sent by approvers
  • Tracking invoice status

Envoice provides a single workflow for tracking all these tasks. This means approvers and your AP team only have to check one place to manage all invoices needing attention.

If your company struggles with invoices that get buried in email inboxes or sit unaddressed for weeks – automation could be part of the solution. And there’s no need to wait around for your AP staff to encode information and send invoice approvals manually.

Automation is not just about saving time; it’s about reinventing efficiency. In fact, a staggering 72% of AP departments have already transitioned to an automated invoice-to-pay cycle. Are you ready to join them?

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Make your invoice process pro-technology and approve invoices faster. Register for an Envoice account today!

Be Free of Paper Invoices

Think about how much paper is used in traditional invoicing – there are attachments, invoices, receipts, and other supporting documents.

And continued reliance on paper means you end up needing more and more space to store all these documents, especially as they pile up over the years. If you’re renting your space, file cabinets housing invoices and other accounts payable documents will occupy a significant part of your office.

Lots of paper files make your business Inefficient.

When you’re relying on paper files, looking for documents can also be more challenging. Suppose you need to look into an invoice from 5 years ago. You’ll have to go through tons of paperwork before finding the information you need. There’s also a chance of losing some attachments when reviewing files.

If you have a good filing system, you may be able to locate the file quickly but it would still take several minutes to hunt for information. Automating the entire invoicing process eliminates this problem.Since all information lives in a central database, tracking invoices and hunting for information goes much faster. You can run a search for the invoice number, payee, or description and see all related information in seconds. No more document hunting in dusty file rooms or sifting through paper files.

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Are you tired of dealing with paper files? Find effective ways to eliminate paper while increasing the efficiency of your Accounts Payable team.

Make Collaboration Easy

Accounts Payable departments must work with treasury and procurement. Constant communication between these functions is necessary for smoother and more efficient operations.

An automated invoice approval process allows for stronger collaboration and communication between these three teams since everyone is on the same page with regard to the status of a supplier invoice.

Procurement teams can easily view where the invoice is in the workflow through the Envoice platform. All invoice-related discussions and supporting documents stay in one place – making it easier for everyone involved to check what’s holding up the process and if there’s additional information needed to move invoices from in-processing to approved.

Gone are the days when procurement teams and other departments had to call AP for a status update. And fewer inquiries mean more time spent doing meaningful work.

Treasury departments will also be in the loop and can always stay on top of the company’s payables when they have ready access to the complete list of ready-to-pay invoices.

Having all invoices in one system allows everyone involved in the transaction to check invoice status quickly or contribute information to process invoices faster.

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Say Goodbye to Late Fees, Take Advantage of Early Payment Discounts

All businesses want to get paid faster. Charging late payment fees and imposing penalties is an effective way to encourage clients to pay on time. If you’re not paying your bills on time, you are likely incurring late fees and penalties that could increase your operating costs.

Automating the invoice process helps you validate and approve invoices faster. Advanced systems also include automated invoice-matching features that could save you additional time. Reducing the time required for invoices to move through the approval workflow helps you pay invoices on or before the due date.

If technology is taking care of the admin stuff, your accounts payable team can focus on ways to bring down costs. You’ll have more time to implement cost reduction strategies, such as taking advantage of early payment discounts or using payment methods that offer rebates.

Reduce Errors and Eliminate Duplicate Payments

An extra zero in the approved invoice could be disastrous to a business.

AP teams must keep a keen eye on the entire process from invoice receipt to approval to make sure that the business is only paying for expenses it is supposed to. Making errors like paying suppliers twice or issuing a check for the wrong amount could lead to inconvenience and additional costs.

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AI-powered platforms like Envoice use technology to help you catch potential issues and mistakes as the invoice moves through the approval workflow. Likewise, all reviewers and approvers can check whether a duplicate transaction exists within the system.

With automation, you can eliminate human error and add controls to catch potential mistakes in the AP department.

Enhanced Security and Compliance

Accounts Payable departments are almost always the prime target of fraudsters. In the past year, 50% of organizations experienced B2B payment fraud. [4] Fraudsters are becoming better at tricking companies to divert payments to a phony bank account, whether you’re paying by card, EFT, or check.

Envoice provides a secure platform where all communication invoice-related talk happens. Moving all approvals to a location other than email or messaging apps reduces the chances of bad actors intercepting communication and routing payments to a fraudulent account.

Aside from reducing the risk of fraud, automation improves compliance with company policies and regulatory requirements. Since all information is already electronic, not in paper format, you can access and organize data faster.

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Are you still using email to request invoice approval? Start using Envoice today and make invoice approvals faster and more secure. Schedule a demo to learn more.

Sync AP Database With Your Accounting Software

Timely information is the key to making smart business decisions. Unfortunately, many businesses are flying blind because they continue to rely on manual, paper-based processes. Fragmented systems also make it difficult to update accounting records right away.

Relying on spreadsheets and waiting for the accounting or AP team to update multiple systems leads to delays. Too often, it would take weeks before management can access accounting reports.

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Automation gets rid of all the duplicative work that goes into the traditional way of processing invoices. You can sync your Envoice data with your accounting software. Supported cloud accounting systems like Xero and QuickBooks allow you to move invoice data with the push of a button.

Integrating your expense management platform with your accounting software speeds up the accounting processes required for closing. At the same time, you have more data available to view historical trends and make accurate forecasts for informed decision-making.

Improve Visibility and Optimize Payments

Sufficient working capital keeps a business alive. You need to have enough money coming in to support your day-to-day expenses. At the same time, you need to control cash outflows and optimize payments.

Creating an effective cost management strategy is impossible if you’re not sure which invoices are due and which ones are in the invoice approval pipeline. Automation sheds light on all your current and incoming expenses to improve payment scheduling.

AI-powered tools like Envoice help you keep track of all expenses, making it easier to review supplier contracts faster and see which suppliers provide better terms.

Simply changing how you process your invoices opens various opportunities to keep a healthy balance sheet even during uncertain times.

Be Future Ready With Envoice

Unique challenges are pushing accounts payable teams to focus on the future. Improving the capabilities of the AP department isn’t just a goal – it’s a necessity in this rapidly evolving business landscape. It’s time to say goodbye to the cumbersome paper trails and welcome automation as the core driver of your AP operations.

But it’s more than just keeping pace; it’s about leading the charge. Crafting an efficient, streamlined AP process is the key to propelling your organization forward. With Envoice as your ally, embark on this transformative journey.

Picture a world where manual processes are a relic of the past, and your AP department is a beacon of efficiency and innovation.

Take that decisive step with Envoice, and start crafting your own automation success story – a story where your business isn’t just running; it’s soaring to new heights of operational excellence.

Sign Up for an Account today. It’s free!

[1] Infosys BPM
[2] Corcentric
[3] Bottomline
[4] IOFM

 

 

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