6 Ways Automation Speeds Invoice Approval and Exceptions Workflows
Do you have a need for speed in your accounts payable?
If so, it’s time to automate.
Manual invoice workflows are the polar opposite of fast. They extend the accounts payable cycle, resulting in late-payment penalties, missed early-payment discount opportunities, supplier phone calls and e-mails regarding invoice and payment status, and strained supplier relationships.
A recent report from PayStream Advisors shows that companies with automated invoice workflows can process invoices in less than half the time of average companies (3.7 days versus 8.8 days) and in less than one-third the time of laggards (3.7 days versus 14.3 days).
Here are six ways workflow automation enables accounts payable departments to achieve such impressive improvements in cycle times:
- Aggregated invoice receipt: Workflow automation aggregates invoices received in any format, accelerating validation and matching of supplier invoices.
- Digital routing: With workflow automation, invoices that require approval (such as non- purchase order-based invoices) or exceptions handling are automatically routed based on pre-configured business rules. Digital workflows can be defined based on the supplier, invoice amount, general ledger code, invoice due date, or criteria. Invoices are tracked across the approval and exceptions workflow, eliminating the possibility of lost or misfiled invoices, or that invoices will be sent to the wrong person or become “stuck” on the desk of an approver who is out of the office. Business travelers or remote purchasers can instantly approve invoices anywhere, at any time, using a smartphone or tablet.
- Fewer downstream exceptions: Resolving exceptions in a manual accounts payable environment requires back-and-forth e-mails and phone calls that can extend invoice cycle times by days or weeks. Automation validates invoices as they are received from suppliers, reducing the possibility of downstream exceptions that delay invoice approval and posting.
- Fewer bottlenecks: Automation provides visibility across the accounts payable cycle, enabling organizations to identify bottlenecks more quickly to adjust workflows. Integration with enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms and other back-end systems deliver 360-degree real-time financial visibility across geographies and business units.
- Faster dispute resolution: Online collaboration between internal stakeholders and/or suppliers accelerates the resolution of invoice disputes. Suppliers can electronically share information (such as images of proof of delivery documents). Buyers can append comments while rejecting or returning invoices, with suppliers kept up-to-date on invoice approval and payment status. Only authorized individuals can view and approve disputed invoices.
- Seamless connectivity with back-end systems: Automation provides seamless connectivity with an organization’s enterprise resource planning platform, eliminating the need for additional paper handling or manual keying after invoices are approved for payment.
Are these benefits compelling? Learn more about accelerating your invoice approval and exceptions workflows. Contact Nexus today to request a live demo.