There are few tasks that are more important than managing the finances of a business. From tracking expenses to issuing payments, the accounts payable department plays a crucial role in keeping any company running smoothly. However, traditional manual methods of handling accounts payable can be time-consuming, error-prone, and expensive. That’s where accounts payable automation comes in.

At BCS ProSoft, we have firsthand experience in helping companies simplify their accounts payable processes through AP automation, and we’re excited to share these insights so you too can reap the accounts payable automation benefits. But first, let’s define what it is and how it works.

What is Accounts Payable Automation?

Accounts payable automation is the process of digitizing and automating the steps involved in managing accounts payable. This includes capturing invoice data, routing invoices for approval, and issuing payments. By leveraging technology and automation software, businesses can streamline their accounts payable processes and reduce manual tasks.

15 Benefits of Accounts Payable Automation

If you’re still on the fence about implementing accounts payable automation for your company, here are 15 benefits that might convince you otherwise:

1. Workflows You Can Customize

One of the primary benefits of AP automation is the ability to customize workflows according to your company’s specific needs. This flexibility allows businesses to set up rules and processes that align with their existing practices, ensuring an easy transition from manual processes to automated systems. Customizable workflows mean that you can manage approvals, process payments, and handle exceptions in a way that fits your unique requirements.

2. Data Transparency

AP automation provides unparalleled data transparency. With automated systems, all financial data is captured and stored in a central location, making it easy to access and review. This transparency is important for auditing purposes and ensures that all transactions are traceable.

Woman in front of a computer looking over documents (manual data entry)

3. Increased Productivity

Automating the accounts payable process eliminates repetitive manual tasks, freeing up your AP team to focus on more strategic activities. With AP automation software, tasks like data entry, invoice processing, and approval management become quicker and more efficient. This increase in productivity not only saves time but also boosts overall operational efficiency.

If you want to learn more about this, check out our blog about recurring invoices in accounts payable. 

4. Saved Time and Money

One of the most compelling benefits of AP automation is the significant time and cost savings it offers. Manual invoice processing and data entry are labor-intensive and prone to errors, which can be costly to rectify. By automating these processes, businesses can reduce the time spent on AP tasks and minimize the risk of costly errors. This leads to substantial cost savings and allows your team to focus on value-added activities.

5. Cloud-Based Storage

AP automation solutions often come with cloud-based storage, providing secure and scalable options for storing financial data. Cloud storage ensures that your data is accessible from anywhere, at any time, and offers robust security measures to safeguard financial data. This is particularly beneficial for businesses with multiple locations or remote teams.

6. Less Manual Error

Manual data entry is inherently prone to human errors, which can lead to duplicate payments, incorrect financial records, and other costly mistakes. AP automation significantly reduces the likelihood by preventing duplicate payments and addressing other errors by automating data capture and validation. This ensures accuracy and reliability in your accounts payable processes.

7. Fraud Detection

A whopping 81% of businesses indicated that they experienced payments fraud in 2019. AP automation software includes advanced fraud detection capabilities, which are essential for protecting your business against fraudulent activities. Automated systems can prevent AP fraud by identifying suspicious transactions and alerting your team to potential fraud, allowing you to take immediate action. This proactive approach to fraud detection helps safeguard your financial operations.

8. Improved Collaboration

With AP automation, collaboration across departments becomes much easier. Automated workflows ensure that everyone involved in the AP process has access to the same information in real time. This improved collaboration leads to faster decision-making and more efficient processes.

Woman at a desk with financial documents and a calculator (manual data entry over ap automation)

9. Real-Time Visibility

Real-time visibility into your accounts payable processes is another significant benefit of AP automation. Automated systems provide real-time updates on the status of invoices, payments, and approvals, allowing you to monitor your AP process more effectively. This visibility is very important for managing cash flow and making informed financial decisions.

10. Streamline Processes with One Solution

AP automation solutions like Sage Intacct offer comprehensive functionality to streamline your entire AP process. From vendor and bill creation to approvals, payments, reconciliation, and reporting, these solutions provide a one-stop shop for all your accounts payable needs. This integration ensures that all aspects of the AP process are connected, reducing complexity and improving efficiency. To learn more about this, read our blog on the best invoice approval software. 

11. Multiple Electronic Payment Options

Modern AP automation software supports various electronic payment options, including checks, ACH, virtual cards, and more. This flexibility allows businesses to choose the most convenient and cost-effective payment methods for their needs. For example, Sage Intacct’s AP automation solution supports multiple payment options, making it easier to process payments efficiently.

12. Early Payment Discounts

AP automation can help businesses take advantage of early payment discounts offered by vendors. By automating the invoice approval process and ensuring timely payments, businesses can qualify for these discounts, leading to significant cost savings. This is a win-win situation, benefiting both your cash flow and your vendor relationships.

13. Automated Reporting

Automated reporting is another valuable feature of AP automation software. These systems can generate detailed reports on your accounts payable activities, providing insights into your financial performance. Automated reporting helps you track key metrics, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions to improve your AP processes.

14. Ensured Compliance

Compliance with financial regulations is critical for any business. AP automation helps ensure compliance by providing accurate and complete records of all transactions. Automated systems can also enforce compliance with internal policies and external regulations, reducing the risk of non-compliance and associated penalties.

15. Scalability

AP automation solutions are highly scalable, making them suitable for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re a small business looking to improve efficiency or a large enterprise managing complex AP processes, AP automation can scale to meet your needs. This scalability ensures that your AP solution grows with your business, providing long-term value.

Insights Into Automating Accounts Payable

At BCS ProSoft, we’ve seen firsthand how transformative accounts payable automation can be for businesses of all sizes. One of the most powerful solutions we recommend and implement for our clients is Sage Intacct. This advanced AP automation solution provides comprehensive functionality that simplifies and optimizes the entire AP process.

Sage Intacct’s comprehensive capabilities include:

  • Vendor and Bill Creation: Simplifies the setup and management of vendor information and bill entries, reducing the workload on your accounts payable team.
  • Approvals and Payments: Streamlines the approval process, ensuring that all payments are timely and accurate.
  • Reconciliation and Reporting: Provides automated reconciliation and detailed reporting features, giving you insights into your financial operations and helping you make informed decisions.
  • Electronic Payment Options: Supports various payment methods, including checks, ACH, and virtual cards, offering flexibility and efficiency in processing payments.

With Sage Intacct, you gain a scalable solution that grows with your business, providing long-term value and support for your evolving needs. BCS ProSoft specializes in implementing and supporting Sage Intacct, ensuring a smooth transition and ongoing support to help you maximize the benefits of AP automation.

Accounts Payable Automation Benefits in Summary

Calculator on top of financial documents

As you can see, there’s no reason that you should be stuck in manual data entry and paper-based processes for your accounts payable. With the benefits of AP automation, you can simplify operations, save time and money, increase accuracy, and gain valuable insights to make better financial decisions.

Don’t let outdated methods hold your business back. Embrace the power of technology and consider implementing an AP automation solution like Sage Intacct today. BCS ProSoft is here to help guide you through the process and support your success every step of the way. Contact us now to learn more about how we can help move forward your accounts payable processes.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is AP automation worth it?

Yes, AP automation is definitely worth it. By automating accounts payable, businesses can eliminate the inefficiencies and errors associated with manual processes. Advanced AP automation solutions streamline workflows, reduce processing times, and improve accuracy. 

The right accounts payable software, such as Sage Intacct, provides comprehensive features that enhance productivity and ensure compliance. Implementing AP software not only saves time and money but also allows your team to focus on more strategic tasks.

What are the benefits of RPA in invoice processing?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in invoice processing offers several benefits. It significantly reduces the need for manual data entry, minimizing errors and speeding up the invoice approval process. 

Advanced AP automation solutions like Sage Intacct can handle high volumes of invoices with ease, ensuring accuracy. By using accounts payable software that integrates RPA, businesses can achieve faster processing times, better data accuracy, and overall improved financial management.

What are three benefits of using technology in accounting?

Three benefits of using technology in accounting are enhanced accuracy and reliability, improved efficiency and productivity, and better compliance with financial regulations. Accounts payable software, such as Sage Intacct, automates accounts payable tasks, reducing the risk of human errors and ensuring consistent data quality. 

AP software also streamlines workflows, allowing your team to process invoices and payments more quickly. Lastly, advanced AP automation solutions provide robust reporting and compliance features, ensuring that your financial operations adhere to industry standards and regulations.