2016 Invoice Workflow Automation Report: Why AP orgs aren’t automating

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Accounts payable (AP) departments using invoice workflow automation (IWA) software experience fewer invoice approval delays and spend less time resolving AP process issues than departments using manual invoice management processes, according to a new report from PayStream Advisors.

Yet, despite these benefits, 30 percent of organizations are still not using IWA solutions or have no plans to implement them.

The benefits of invoice automation

Most AP organizations rely too much on their own efforts to eliminate paper and improve invoice management processes, according to the report. Using data capture tools to scan paper invoices or email to route invoices for approval has helped some organizations, but without complete IWA, these organizations miss out on the additional benefits of integration with their ERPs and the ability to handle more complex approval workflows that ensure accuracy and completeness of work.

With IWA, your AP department takes advantage of OCR scanning and electronic invoicing that eliminates all manual data entry by the buyer. You automate time-consuming activities like matching and routing, approvals, payment and reconciliation. You also can take advantage of robust reporting and analytics that greatly improve your organizations ability to audit, analyze, and improve processes.

What’s holding AP departments back?

PayStream finds that most organizations cite budget concerns as their primary barrier to adoption. Lack of technical resources to manage the automation tool as well as lack of executive sponsorship also play a significant role.

Surprisingly, nearly a quarter of organizations say they aren’t moving to full AP automation because their “current processes work.”

But are they really working? Two-thirds of companies spend between one and 8 hours per week resolving AP invoice management issues. That lost time could cost anywhere from $1,350 to $10,800 annually per employee, according to PayStream’s calculations.

The business case for holistic AP automation

Invoice workflow automation does more than reduce processing delays, remove non-value-added tasks and speed invoice approvals. Organizations using IWA software experience:

  • Increased employee productivity
  • Lower processing costs
  • Better visibility over liabilities
  • Easier compliance with regulatory requirements (SOX, FASB)
  • Fewer late payment penalties and interest

In addition to survey data from a variety of industries, the 2016 Invoice Workflow Automation Report discusses the key features and functionalities of IWA software in-depth. It’s a helpful starting point for organizations looking to improve their current invoice management processes.

If you’re ready to reduce costs while improving productivity, download a copy of the report or visit OnBase.com to learn more about AP invoice automation tools.

Danielle Simer

Danielle Simer

Danielle Simer is a marketing portfolio manager at Hyland. Her mission is to share best practices and evangelize the power of enterprise content management (ECM) as a tool to automate paper-based processes and improve operations across accounting and finance, human resources, and contract management. Danielle joined Hyland after more than six years with a research and advisory firm devoted to helping senior executives manage their departments and teams more effectively. She received her bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and her MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

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