6 steps to easily streamline your Accounts Payable

Your accounts payable team is drowning in an ever-growing pile of paperwork. They're so busy that you need to hire new staff to keep up with the workload. This is a sign that you're outgrowing your current AP processes and need to take steps to rethink and optimize them. It's time to address the cause instead of treating the symptom.  

1.    Take inventory

Take inventory of your current processes. Measure the time spent performing them, and whether there are differences in how different people perform them. If your finance team is spending too much time managing accounts payable, it's time to reassess your current processes.

 

2.    Standardize your AP processes

Look at how your AP staff carry out their tasks. Take note of the time they take to process invoices and what their process is. A surefire way to streamline your accounts payable is to develop standardized procedures that all employees should follow.  

AP Automation in 5 Simple Steps

3.    Go exclusively digital

Digitalizing your workplace has many benefits – getting rid of paper is probably the biggest. Going paperless is not only better for the environment, but it's good for your employees' sanity too. Say goodbye to paper documents piling up on your desk. 

Using paper has many downsides for your business: 

  • Invoices and other essential documents can be easily lost, misplaced, or damaged
  • Printing out paper is costly
  • Archived paper documents can cause storage space issues
  • Sensitive information can be easily stolen
  • Collaboration between colleagues is limited

You can eliminate paper from your office using an ERP system such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. This system will allow you to handle many paper-heavy processes digitally, e.g., receiving electronic invoices, approving invoices and e-documents, and archiving paid invoices and other e-documents.  

Communication between you and your colleagues also increases when going digital as you can collaborate simultaneously on online documents.  

4.    Eliminate manual data entry

Manual data entry is time-consuming and, frankly, an outdated process in 2023. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology can automatically recognize and capture data from any electronic or scanned document. OCR reduces the time spent manually typing and data entry errors. Not only will you save costs on manual tasks, but you'll see a rise in employee satisfaction levels.

 

5.    Archive your records effectively

Manually storing or finding documents in an archive takes time, and physical storage space needs to increase with time. Using an ERP system, you can digitally store your documents quickly and pull them up for review. Storing your company's financial records in the cloud gives flexibility - all authorized employees can interact with and access them from anywhere.

6.    Adopt AP automation software

You need to consider accounts payable automation if you're looking to digitalize your workplace and streamline your accounts payable processes. Many software solutions in the market seek to automate AP processes. AP automation software performs time-consuming and repetitive tasks, allowing you to focus on higher value-added activities.  

AP automation encompasses some of the steps mentioned above, such as OCR technology and digital archiving. It streamlines invoice data processing so that the data is captured, approved, paid, and archived within a matter of clicks.

 

Tips

Many finance teams have mixed reactions to the automation of finance functions. Some may welcome it with open arms, while others may be resistant to change. Your staff may be resistant for various reasons. Some may think that their current processes work fine, while others may fear losing their jobs.  

Losing your job, however, is not the only result of automation. Many companies are choosing to upskill their AP staff. They collaborate more closely with other departments and gather data-driven insights to discover ways to grow their business.

Give your Accounts Payable a makeover with Continia

If your finance department is looking to use or is currently using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, we can help you. Continia Software is a leading provider of solutions for Business Central. We create solutions built into Business Central, meaning that you and your team don't have to learn a new software application.  

Document Capture automates your entire accounts payable process. It helps automate monotonous tasks, reduce paper and errors, and create space for insightful and strategic thinking. This leads to an increase in overall job satisfaction and creates value in your finance department. Automation features include: 

  • OCR to capture and process invoices
  • Audit trail generation
  • Digital archiving
  • Approval flow routing
  • Three-way matching
  • Support for Multi-Entity Management

Learn more about Document Capture