In a previous post, we discussed steps to automate your organization’s AP process. Here are the next steps we suggest.
Implement digital invoicing
The first step in the accounts payable process is receiving the invoice or payment request from the vendor. Although some might think the first step should be the vendor, who registers for the digital invoicing process. There is no universal way of creating digital invoices, and you should cater to any format your vendors are using and ensure that all the information on that invoice can be automatically captured. For example, some vendors still use paper, while others will send you an unstructured PDF file containing the payment details; others might use a TIFF file.
The first step for the invoicing business process is to agree with your suppliers and vendors to digitize invoices, which means converting paper invoices to digital ones or directly generating invoices. This will help you process the time your employees need to go through and automate the complete steps. Another method is to use a Laserfiche Form, which the vendor completes. This will achieve consistency and allow you to grab data to push and pull other data within your accounting systems.
Build approval workflows
Implementing approval workflows is a crucial step in automating accounts payable. Reporting can be built and offer critical insights that otherwise would need to be developed manually. This will allow you to automate the routing of invoices to the appropriate manager for review and approval without passing paper around. It also allows you to specify different levels of approvals based on several factors, such as invoice amount or supplier name.
Remember, your goal is to automate the process, improve efficiencies by eliminating bottlenecks, balance workloads and avoid delays in the approval cycle. In addition, you should aim for high auditing accuracy and compliance with mandates and regulations, which can be automated for greater accuracy.
Automate data entry
Manual data entry has proved over the years that it is insufficient, inefficient, and error-prone. That is why you must ensure the data entry cycle is automated to save time, reduce errors, and improve efficiency, which can lead to decreased delayed payments and other issues.
Laserfiche Workflow can grab data from invoice template fields and populate your ERP database. Otherwise, other types of integrative middleware can be used.
Train your team
Before going live with your AP project, you must ensure that all the appropriate employees are trained on the technologies to be used and clearly understand the overall process. Any adjustments to duties and responsibilities that may come from the automation of accounts payable should also be included in the training. To help your employees adjust to the new digital process, offering them ongoing assistance is crucial.
The steps to automate accounts payable should be carefully planned for and well executed to increase the chances of successful implementation.