In the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic, businesses have been forced to face challenges that would not normally have appeared as key challenges. One such area is Control and Visibility, with procedures now largely being operated through remote working. But through AP Automation, these are elements that are already greatly enhanced.
Some of the more cautious businesses have been slow to adopt the benefits of automated accounts payable systems, preferring to stick by tried and trusted manual processes that remain heavily reliant on paper or hardcopy documentation.
These days, systems are stretched to their limits, with skeleton staff manning the normally well-populated office. Travel restrictions and social distancing regulations, introduced to help in the battle against the COVID-19 crisis, make business continuity more complex, with Forbes reporting that 54% of US companies stating that working from home would have a ‘significant impact on their finance team’s ability to process invoices’. But in truth, there have always been hindrances associated with traditional procedural practices.
Simply by ensuring a greater level of visibility and, by consequence, tighter control of procedures and their results.
Manual processes fail to deliver the level of invoice visibility necessary to be completely on top of things. What this means it takes time and effort to check the status of any invoice, whether it was received, processed, approved and paid.
And with a physical hardcopy invoice, simply getting your hands on it can depend on such basic factors as filing accuracy and processing efficiency. In fact, according to an AIIM survey, 68% believed that ‘business-at-the-speed-of-paper would be unacceptable in a few years’ and manual data entry practices had a high error rate.
The key hindrances include:
Beyond the simple procedural impediments, the traditional manual procedures cause issues with the accurate tracking of cash flow, with uncertainty sometimes cropping up over the flow of finances in and out of a company.
An Automated AP system, however, includes all of the necessary elements in a single, easy to access platform. Received invoices, both paper and electronic, can be immediately uploaded and captured directly to the system, allowing complete visibility of any invoice at any stage of the process.
And because all relevant data is stored within the secured AP platform, pre-authorised personnel, whether members of the financial department or designated reviewers and approvers have immediate access to all of the relevant information even from the comfort of their own homes.
The key benefits available in the current COVID-19 scenario include:
Having enhanced visibility drives accountability and provides greater control of the AP process. Automated accounts payable systems ensure that every document is easily retrieved, traced through every step and simple to confirm payment of or not.
With a greater degree of control over the process, from start to end, comes more effective document oversight and management. But of course, there are other reasons why maintaining excellent control is so important. There are a host of other responsibilities companies are obliged to meet. Not least amongst them are:
These elements can be inputted into a system too when adopting AP automation, ensuring that each is applied to procedures automatically. This further negates the risk of human error and provides benefits such as:
To find out more about Accounts Payable Automation click here.