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Financial Process Automation

Getting the Green Light for AP Automation

Jack is working late. Again. Working late has become the rule rather than the exception. As manager of the accounting department, Jack rests his head in his hands and looks up around at the paper invoice mountain that consumes his desk. Staring at the pile of invoices immediately in front of him, Jack ponders how to best parse these out to his team members for processing.

Adding to his stress are the errors that can impact their ERP processing, there’s so much potential for processing errors. Jack’s staff spends significant time re-entering data into the system, realizing the consequences if they lose just one paper invoice. Jack thinks back to the lost invoice drama the unfolded last week. He and his staff spent about two hours searching for a single, but critical invoice. Thankfully they found the elusive invoice stuck under a pile of folders on a clerk’s desk.

Jack’s current manual processes simply cannot address leveraging cash discounts, as they are too time consuming to allow for optimizing on early payment terms. Sadly, his department’s productivity is just barely keeping afloat managing the deluge of all these AP-related documents.

His research into AP automation provided the promise that his processes could be dramatically improved through:

  • Error reduction: Automating the capture, extraction and classification of invoice data
  • Seamless integration into the company’s ERP
  • Leveraging vendor discount terms. Taking advantage of early payment discounts thereby reducing late-payment penalties, while building better relationships with vendors
  • Increasing productivity: Having employees handle exceptions only
  • Improved compliance: Implementing internal controls that help prevent fraud and meet regulatory requirements

After enthusiastically presenting his findings to management, Jack was tasked to provide a business case providing justification for AP Automation, including:

  • What will be the fully burdened cost of AP Automation?
  • What will be the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)?
  • What is the ROI? And how long will it take to recover the investment?

After the meeting, Jack thought about additional questions he needed the answers to:

  • What AP automation solutions support our existing ERPs?
  • What is the implementation time? Weeks? Months?
  • What will be the impact on staffing?
  • How can we leverage analytics to provide visibility and insight to the AP process?

The good news is AP automation technology has been optimized over the years to overcome challenges just like Jack’s, enabling companies to dramatically transform their AP departments from a tactical, capture-and-approve role to a strategic, revenue generating partner.

Ready to build your use case justification? Learn the insights of PayStream Advisors research, Pitching ROI for Accounts Payable report to get started.