We began this week’s blog series looking forward to Summer and using longboard and shortboard surfboards as an analogy for invoice and payment processing (AP) automation, where there are long term, sustainable benefits and short term positive results. In Part 1, we addressed the long game, how finance leaders who have automated their finance workflows are able to more nimbly and strategically navigate important workplace initiatives such as management of working capital, mitigating potential risk, and making more strategic decisions.
In Part 2, we review some of the benefits that are realized from automating in the short run. Like the shortboard surfboard—high performance and the most maneuverable shape for quick, snappy turns—finance departments that implement a smart AP automation solution like Yooz will almost immediately become high-performing and realize positive impact.
In many areas, mid-market firms are still experiencing the same pain points as they were in recent previous years. The Levvel Research 2019 Payables Insight Report1 reveals that manual data entry and inefficient processes, and manual routing of invoices for approval still top the list, as they did in the survey conducted for the 2018 report. Lost invoices, majority of invoices received in paper format, and lack of visibility into liabilities are not far behind.
In the very short term, smart AP automation solves for all of these:
- Data Entry: A key feature of OCR (optical character recognition) that contributes to the ease-of-use is advanced data entry technology. Combined with machine learning capabilities powered by AI, the system intelligently fills in, for example, recurring fields from similar vendors or invoice information such as date or payment type. Machine learning capabilities improve over time as an algorithm learns the invoicing patterns of an organization. In other words, the system gets smarter the more you use it!
And the Yooz platform’s technology is even more advanced, offering the next layer, smart data extraction, which understands and processes the text from the OCR to transform it into relevant data.
- Routing Documents for Approval: As stated in the Payables report, the value of cloud-based AP automation tools is growing, as is demand. “They are the most versatile and scalable options available today for organizations across revenue segments, business types, and industries because they are increasingly flexible, dynamic, and affordable.”2
Cloud technology allows approving managers to securely access and approve documents from any device anytime. No more lost invoices. Nor more tracking down managers for approvals. And as an added benefit, organizations that are decentralized will immediately save money from no longer transporting documents via courier or overnight delivery services.
- Visibility into Liabilities: Finance leaders can see not only where an invoice is in the approval process, but also see a history of who has accessed the document and what was done with it. This not only keeps the workflow moving, but also gives the greatest opportunity to capture early payment discounts when offered, and certainly avoid late payment penalties.
As our surfer friends say, “It will be epic, dude!”
1-2Levvel Research: 2019 Payables Insight Report. 2019. Levvel.