8 Ways AP Automation Can Revolutionize Your Finance Team

By Arshia Deljavan Farshi
December 4, 2023
Revolutionize Your Finance Team With AP Automation

Why AP Automation Is One Of The Tools Your Business Needs To Succeed:

We live in a time when most if not all businesses are facing increasing competition and customer demands asking for higher operational efficiency, faster turnaround and more competitive pricing. As many know and appreciate, faster and cheaper are not always synonymous. Faster turnaround equates to higher operational costs and for businesses dealing in hardware, potentially overstocking. This puts many businesses on the back foot when it comes to offering competitive pricing, as profit margins are slimming. This is where many businesses, including some of your competitors, turn to advanced automation, especially for repetitive “robot work”. Advanced automation has introduced businesses to do more with less effort.

There are some misconceptions around business process automation where some believe that with automation comes costly development work required. Some also worry about the loss of staff and the knowledge they bring to the business. However, our answer to this misinformation is that automation, in essence, has been created to assist staff in streamlining their time and feel more achievement in their role which will save the organisation money, and will increase job satisfaction.

In layman’s terms, we can liken AP automation, discussed in this article, to an aircraft’s autopilot system. The autopilot system did not replace the need for a pilot or first officer, but with the introduction and advancement of this system, aircraft and flying became increasingly safer and flight journeys increasingly smoother for passengers. This was achieved whilst reducing pilots’ workload.

Below, we will delve into eight benefits of AP automation.

1. Employee Satisfaction:

Automating the accounts payable (AP) process significantly contributes to employee satisfaction by eliminating the tedious and error-prone manual tasks associated with traditional invoice processing. Automation streamlines workflows, allowing employees to focus on more strategic and fulfilling aspects of their roles. With time-consuming data entry and repetitive tasks reduced, employees can redirect their efforts toward higher-value activities, fostering a more engaging and satisfying work environment.

2. Remote Working:

The adoption of AP automation is a game-changer for businesses embracing remote work environments. By digitising and centralising financial processes, employees can seamlessly access and manage invoice data from any location, increasing flexibility and productivity. Cloud-based AP automation platforms enable remote teams to collaborate efficiently, ensuring that critical financial processes continue smoothly even when employees are not physically present in the office. This flexibility not only supports the current trend of remote work but also future-proofs businesses, providing the agility needed to adapt to evolving work models and market dynamics.

3. Reduce Cost:

One of the most compelling advantages of AP automation is the significant reduction in operational costs. Automation eliminates manual errors, speeds up invoice processing times, and minimises the need for physical paperwork. By streamlining these processes, organisations can achieve cost savings associated with labour, paper, and the potential costs incurred due to errors.

One of the often overlooked cost savings that AP automation can achieve is staff retention. At any time around 25% of finance professionals are job hunting mostly because they are performing “manual, repetitive work”. With higher employee satisfaction companies can achieve higher staff retention rates and reduce costs associated with staff turnover and training.

4. Improve Compliance:

Compliance is a critical aspect of financial operations, and AP automation plays a pivotal role in ensuring adherence to regulations and policies. Automated systems enforce consistency and accuracy in data entry, reducing the risk of errors that could lead to compliance issues.

Furthermore, AP automation such as X3CloudDocs Inbound comes equipped with features like audit trails and documentation, allowing easy traceability and compliance reporting. With the ability to implement and enforce standardised processes, organisations can easily navigate complex regulatory landscapes, avoiding penalties and issues associated with non-compliance.

5. Access Savings:

AP automation unlocks hidden savings by providing organisations with enhanced visibility into their financial processes. Real-time analytics and reporting functionalities allow businesses to identify cost-saving opportunities, negotiate better terms with vendors and suppliers, and optimise cash flow management. Additionally, the automation of approval workflows reduces the likelihood of late payment fees and takes advantage of early payment discounts (where applicable), contributing to tangible cost savings. The ability to make data-driven decisions based on accurate and up-to-date information positions organisations to proactively pursue savings initiatives and maximise their financial efficiency.

6. Improve Relationships:

Efficient AP processes directly impact relationships with both suppliers and internal stakeholders. Automated systems facilitate timely and accurate payments, enhancing the trust and collaboration between businesses and their suppliers. Moreover, AP automation will automate “embarrassing” tasks such as chasing whether internally for approvals, or payments externally, cutting out the “guilt or embarrassment” and speeding up the process.

7. Consistency of Data:

Data consistency is key for accurate financial reporting and analysis. AP automation ensures a standardised and consistent approach to data entry and processing, reducing the risk of errors associated with manual input. Automated systems such as X3CloudDocs validate information against predefined rules, flagging discrepancies and ensuring that only accurate data enters the system. Consistent and reliable data sets the foundation for better decision-making, financial forecasting, and strategic planning. Moreover, in an era where data integrity is crucial for compliance and stakeholder trust, AP automation assures that financial information is accurate, reliable, and consistently maintained.

8. Sustainability, Environmental Impact & Waste Reduction:

Many businesses have a strong commitment to sustainability to safeguard the future of planet Earth. Automating AP is a step in the right direction for companies to reduce their environmental impact, carbon footprint and waste. Processing documents automatically, without the use of paper and ink has a much lower environmental impact than traditional ways. Electronic methods generate 87% fewer greenhouse gases than paper methods.

Our client RH Amar who has a strong commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing commented: “There was a lot of manual inputs data entry onto our main system, which is Sage X3. There was a lot of manual typing and punching in data that was on the paper. We were very paper-based. Now it feels like history!”

Key Takeaway:

Given today’s business landscape as described in the introduction and the benefits of AP automation from employee satisfaction and retention to improved efficiency and cost savings, business leaders shouldn’t be asking whether they can afford AP automation tools but should be asking if they can afford not having AP automation. When consulting with customers, X3CloudDocs consultants have found that the solution pays for itself often in less than 6 months of deployment!

Can you afford not automating your Account Payable?

Contact us for a no obligation brief consultation or demonstration

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What Customers Say About X3CloudDocs:

Efficient AP processes directly impact relationships with both suppliers and internal stakeholders. Automated systems facilitate timely and accurate payments, enhancing the trust and collaboration between businesses and their suppliers. Moreover, AP automation will automate “embarrassing” tasks such as chasing whether internally for approvals or payments externally, cutting out the “guilt or embarrassment” and speeding up the process.

Alex Stephens – TIMCO

X3CloudDocs has really automated our company’s AP processes. We now spend less time doing manual work and has truly made our AP processes very easy and efficient. The solution is very user friendly and the interface is easy for even a novice to navigate. As many other companies experience we have several control points and validation checks along with approval hierarchy we need to employ day to day and X3CD almost seamlessly integrated with our existing processes and controls. 

Heather Sauceda – Transpak

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