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Organizations worldwide are automating their accounts payable operations in order to avoid manual work, reduce approval cycle times, and eliminate paper and paper processes. As a result, companies are looking for paperless accounts payable software that integrates with their ERP and provides finance administrators visibility into the current state of their accounts payable operations.
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“Paperless” means that the complete accounts payable process is digitized. Not only is paper eliminated, but paper processes are eliminated as well. Software and automation replaces the manual work inherent in paper-based workflows, manual workflows that are becoming increasingly outdated.
The paperless accounts payable software process can be broken down into the following steps:
In the first step, invoices are received in either paper or email format. An internal invoice capture solution or an external invoice capture service digitizes the invoice data. This is an essential component of the paperless accounts payable process, as it makes everything else possible.
Once the invoice data is available, a central dashboard is populated with the invoice data and administrators can monitor and control the approval workflow for both non-PO and PO invoices.
Non-Po invoices are sent to approvers who can approve the purchase within defined purchasing limits, and for larger purchases the approval workflow could include several people at various seniority levels.
PO invoices are matched at the line or header level of a purchase order and/or goods receipt. The software flags exceptions and sends the invoice in question to approvers for reconciliation, providing the approver with all the documents and communications necessary to clear the issue.
Once an invoice has been approved or matched, the invoice is forwarded to the ERP for recording and payment.
Another important component of a paperless accounts payable system is having a cloud-based invoice archive. If invoice data capture is the first part of the automation process, an invoice archive completes the picture!
Once the invoice has been paid, the software retrieves the invoice from the ERP and puts it into a searchable database. Finance administrators can easily search for invoices, and avoid storing paper copies or files in a physical location.
An invoice log provides an audit trail for investigations and audit enquiries. Everything is time stamped and finance administrators save enormous amounts of time being able to retrieve records showing who did what, when, and where. Internal comments and notes are included in this electronic documentation.
Key to the entire process is an efficient approval workflow. If you are in a paper-based organization, the approval workflow involves email, spreadsheets, phone calls and file folders maintained by accounts payable staff. Vendor invoices are entered into the ERP manually, and the problems associated with missing invoices or manual errors are common.
With a paperless accounts payable workflow, finance administrators have more visibility. They can see the status of invoices in the approval process and where the bottlenecks are.
Approval workflows are controlled by the finance administrators. They can control where invoices are routed with a drag and drop workflow. Once the approval workflow has been determined, non-PO invoices are flowed through to the persons responsible for approving the invoice.
For PO invoices, if the matching engine of the AP software flags an exception, the invoice is automatically routed to the appropriate approver or approvers for reconciliation.
In many ERPs changing a workflow can be expensive, requiring extensive coding and consultant fees. A paperless accounts payable workflow avoids this expense by providing an approval workflow that is flexible and easily rerouted within the software.
Rillion paperless accounts payable software, or AP automation, provides a solution for invoice data capture, approval workflow, automated PO matching, a searchable invoice archive and a complete audit trail. It integrates with popular ERPs including; Dynamics 365, Dynamics NAV, Dynamics GP, Sage Intacct, NetSuite, SAP Business One, Acumatica and more.
For more information about Rillion’s AP automation solution