Has your company invested in an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system? Did you know that you can get even more out of it by integrating automated accounts payable (AP)?
An ERP helps manage key components of your business, touching most financial and operation areas. Yet many companies that use an ERP system still manually input and reconcile their accounts payable.
Automating your accounts payable digitizes the entire process, from purchase order and invoice to payment and reporting. A purchase order triggers a vendor invoice, which in turn prompts a payment from your company, and it’s all approved electronically.
Eliminating manual tasks ensures greater efficiency, accuracy, visibility, and control over your AP process. Here are four reasons to consider integrating AP automation into your ERP:
Improve efficiency and reduce your reliance on paper.
Managing your accounts payable without an automated AP function built into your ERP involves time and paperwork. Invoices are mailed, faxed, emailed, forwarded, or handed off to your AP team in any number of ways, presenting a variety of challenges.
Misplaced invoices may incur late fees and could leave vendors unpaid. Manual systems create more opportunities for fraud, and using paper methods makes reconciling and auditing extremely difficult.
Automating your AP process enables online invoicing, approvals, and payments while eliminating manual check issuance, facilitating electronic payments, and decreasing processing costs.
Overhaul user roles.
ERPs typically assign a role to each user, limiting employee access to certain operations. For example, if an employee generates a purchase order but can’t check on the status of that order, valuable time will be wasted finding someone with access who can.
With an automated AP process, users have more visibility into the entire process, from invoice receipt and approval status to payment execution. That makes better use of everybody’s time.
Gain real-time visibility into your payables.
If you make payments with different methods and systems, it can be difficult to achieve a true general ledger balance. You’ll have to look over credit card and bank statements, as well as other records for payments that haven’t cleared yet then manually reconcile them in a spreadsheet. By the time you’ve got everything balanced, you’ll have even more uncleared payments to reconcile.
With an automated AP solution, payments are synchronized in real time with your ERP general ledger balance. You’ll have an accurate view of your account balances for all payment methods, as well as the information required to make informed cash flow decisions.
Streamline your workflow and create an audit trail.
Receiving invoices through multiple channels—like mail, fax, email, or hand delivery—makes it harder to maintain an orderly approval process and ensure your vendors are being paid according to agreed upon terms. To run payables smoothly and efficiently, you’ll need the right tools.
Automating your AP process allows each task to be completed and tracked electronically, establishing a consistent workflow standard and providing a clear audit trail.
Once you’ve integrated an automated AP process into your ERP, your company will reap a number of benefits. You’ll eliminate duplicate invoice payments and other manual errors, plus you’ll be able to take advantage of discounts and guarantee that payments are sent out on time.
Benefits of incorporating AP automation into your ERP include:
- Automated invoice capture, approvals, and payments
- No more duplicate invoices or errors caused by manual data input
- Access to relevant discounts
- Less exposure to paper-based fraud
- Clear and detailed audit trails that improve internal controls
- Better supplier relationships
- Transparency and real-time visibility
- Increased employee productivity