How you can move beyond scan-and-capture to a true accounts payable automation solution

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Over the past few months I’ve written a few posts about Accounts Payable Change Makers: who they are and what impact they are having on today’s organizations. It’s been really interesting to speak with and interview key people who are making a difference in their roles and raising the profile of AP within the larger organization. As you’d expect, I’m mostly talking with Basware customers, but, often enough, I find myself at a trade show where I get to meet and chat with people from organizations who are all over the AP maturity map. Perhaps you can reflect on my next point: most people I encounter have taken steps over the past few years to automate their AP processes – and therefore feel they have ‘AP Automation’. When I dig a little deeper, it turns out (almost every time) that they’ve got a mix of scanning, possibly capture (OCR) or manual data entry. They might have an electronic workflow from their ERP or some inherited best-of-breed solution. Archiving might be paper still or they might have something electronic.

Here’s the point: they don’t know what they are missing. They think they’ve got an AP Automation solution but my experience tells me that they are at the bottom of the maturity curve. They still have lots of opportunity to consolidate, standardize and reap the efficiency rewards that come with AP automation.

In the newly released Basware Accounts Payable Automation Change Paper we discuss ‘Beyond Paperless’ – How AP Change Makers can improve on ‘scan and capture’ solutions to unlock the full potential of AP Automation.

Like all self-improvement projects, we suggest you first look at where you are today. Take a look at your process, map it out, highlight the technologies that are in place, and assess the uniformity of your process across the wider organization. Your analysis may reveal that you have a greater opportunity for improvements in one area than another. For example, those with scan & capture might consider introducing a Portal or free e-invoicing solutions for their long tail of smaller suppliers.

In the paper we discuss the opportunity to attain best practice standards (and possible best-in-class results) in accounts payable by going beyond ‘scan and capture’ as a method for invoice receiving. Did you know that 90% of best-in-class organizations recognize AP automation as part of the purchase to pay process? These same companies have almost three times the number of their suppliers sending them invoices electronically – enabling them to process 44% of invoices fully automatically (compared to the average of 18%). Put these facts together and the result is an average invoice handling cost of $2.20 (for best-in-class companies) vs $19.10 (average for the rest) – now that’s dramatic.

I want to let you get started reading the new Change Maker Paper, so my last word will be to tell you that there are some very interesting correlations described between the key performance indicators (KPIs) you track, the main value drivers and the key enablers which facilitate positive impact on the KPIs.  It’s worth a quick look to make sure you are focusing on the right elements in your current or future automation projects. Good luck with your efforts.  Post a comment if you want any advice or have any questions about the paper.



Category: Accounts Payable