This blog series is based on the abstract of the Levvel Research 2019 Insight into Payables Report written by Mark Brousseau, consultant, Institute of Finance Management (IOFM) spokesperson, and AP automation subject matter expert.
This week’s blog series, based on the abstract of the new report produced by Levvel Research and sponsored by Yooz, recounts that accounts payable leaders are now focused on how to automate, rather than “why.” We reviewed the justification for accounts payable automation—arguably settled by now—in Part 1. And here in Part 2, we answer the question, “How Do We Get Started?”
Start by looking in the Cloud. More accounts payable departments are avoiding homegrown invoice approval solutions and the tools built into their enterprise resource planning (ERP) or accounting applications for cloud-based solutions, and we agree with that approach. The percentage of AP departments that use cloud-based solutions more than doubled between 2018 and 2019 (from 22 percent to 49 percent.
Why the stronger demand? One reason is that accounts payable departments that use cloud-based systems are more confident that their solution uses modern and cutting-edge technology. In the case of the Yooz solution, we offer the critical smart data extraction technology, powered by A.I. (You can learn more about the importance of this technology in a recent blog series.)
Emerging technologies such as RPA, AI, and machine learning will play a big role in automating the manual, repetitive processes that have bogged down accounts payable over the years and prevented the function from focusing on value-added tasks. Although accounts payable departments are not as familiar as you might think with emerging technologies such as blockchain and predictive analytics, look for these technologies to have a big impact on how accounts payable operates in the future.
Levvel Research agrees that cloud-based best-of-breed solutions are increasingly flexible, dynamic and affordable. With a cloud-based solution, accounts payable departments do not need to overhaul their legacy ERP system to in order to accommodate an invoice approval feature that their ERP does not support. The good news for organizations looking for automated accounts payable solutions is that more cloud-based solutions are compatible with many different ERP systems. As evidence of this agnostic approach to ERPs, Yooz seamlessly integrates with more than 200 different ERPs—more than any other automation solution on the market.
Cloud-based solutions also reduce costs, improve control, and speed cycle times with capabilities such as real-time access to data, mobile applications, and supplier self-service portals.
Next, consider only complete, end-to-end workflow solutions. Beyond ERP integration, automating accounts payable requires addressing five core tasks:
- Invoice receipt
- Invoice management
- Electronic payments
- Reporting and analytics
- Supplier management
Levvel Research finds that accounts payable departments are prioritizing solutions with features for:
- Electronic payments
- Purchase order workflow automation
- Front-end imaging and automated data capture
- Invoice workflow automation
- Electronic invoicing capabilities
The best cloud-based AP automation solutions, such as the Yooz platform, either support these features, or provide functionality for them natively or via their integrated partners.
In short, companies that want to stay current with business practices, particularly when it comes to digitizing the accounts payable function, should consider cloud-based, smart invoice and payment processing (accounts payable) automation solutions that leverage today’s most advanced technologies and provide a complete end-to-end workflow. Like we say at Yooz,
Cloud P2P Automation. Easy. Powerful. Smart.