Accounts Payable Automation or AP Automation is a misnomer in the accounting and finance industry. Almost all existing products focus solely on invoice management (capturing, reading, and routing). However, there is an entire chain of events that happens before and after invoices are approved that need to be reckoned with. It’s one reason many companies are slow to adopt “invoice” automation solutions – the inherent value of software that reads an invoice isn’t nearly compelling enough.

The real problem is one that centers around the actual supplier communication and payment processes.

It shouldn’t be called “AP automation,” if one isn’t automating payments. While ingesting invoices is important, it’s not nearly as daunting as other areas of the AP process (tax, compliance, remittance). Much of the friction occurs after an invoice is approved and ready to pay. It involves managing bank accounts, gathering supplier payment details, logging into banking portals to send payment, communicating payment status to payees, and resolving issues around failed payments.

Anyone can read and invoice and cut a check, but not everyone can be sure of the exacting procedures of wiring funds to India to ensure that supplier is payable legally and within the system.

Complete the AP Cycle

A comprehensive approach to AP automation completes the cycle of bill-to-pay-to-reconciliation. AP automation should solidify interaction with both banks and payees to provide end-to-end control and streamline the entire AP operation, not just invoices. Here are some pro-tips for AP.

  • Integrate directly with your ERP or accounting system
  • Manage and secure bank interfaces including ACHs, wire transfers, paper checks, and local bank transfers overseas (international ACH) in one dashboard
  • Reduce payment errors with supplier onboarding and self-service
  • Schedule payment instructions for a future date
  • Control fee schedule structure and enable rolling the transaction cost onto payee
  • Enable multiple payment thresholds to reduce or increase transaction volume
  • Enable early payment to suppliers in exchange for discounts and working within the AP automation framework
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