Why aren't AP functions making greater use of invoice automation? 

Automated invoice processing solutions from DCSA survey conducted among global AP professionals by the Institute of Financial Operations revealed that over a quarter of respondents estimated their invoice processing costs to be as high as £6 per invoice, while for a smaller percentage the cost could rise to £12 and in some cases £16 per invoice.

Despite these figures, the survey also suggests that around 57% of respondent organisations were not using any automated invoice processing technology. The technology, which captures and processes invoices electronically, is proven to reduce invoice processing costs by reducing manual input, enabling faster processing and eliminating costs associated with handling and storing paper invoices.

Alternatives to upfront capital investment

A potential deterrent for some accounts payable departments in harnessing this technology may be the initial capital outlay. Typically, justification for investment in an automated system will be based on expected ROI. However, in cases where capex investment is difficult to secure, departments can make use of alternative charging models to enable implementation.

Outsourced solutions – Outsourced solutions for processing invoices provide access to the technology on a low per-invoice charging basis. This allows AP departments to replace fixed invoice processing overheads with a variable usage payment which reflects peaks and troughs in invoice volumes. Departments can realise all the cost benefits of invoice automation without adding to IT infrastructures or worrying about variations in staffing levels.

Hosted solutions – Technology for processing invoices can be “rented” on a per click basis, which avoids the need for upfront investment or in-house system maintenance and is much quicker to deploy. Hosted technology includes the system for storing, managing and viewing electronically captured invoices, as well as the workflow technology which enables automated routing and tracking of invoices through processes such as matching against purchase orders, coding and approvals.

Automated Invoice Processing - Data Capture Solutions Download the brochure - Software Requirements for Invoice Automation

Other ways invoice automation adds value

In building a case for implementation, organisations and AP departments need to gain a clearer picture of the wider value they can obtain from invoice processing technology. Here are some examples:

Improved process visibility – over 30% of respondents in the IFO survey believed the visibility and reporting benefits of invoice processing technology to be most important. With technology such as FileStore BPM from DCS, managers can view invoice volumes in real-time, monitor KPI’s and process metrics or receive automated alerts, for example when payments risk falling overdue.

Improved supplier relations – Faster invoice processing resulting in more on-time payments can do much to improve relations between organisations and their suppliers.

Better compliance – By default, departments implementing invoice automation reduce their compliance risk compared with paper-based systems, due to significantly better traceability, absence of lost or misfiled invoices and ease of invoice retrieval during audits.

Easier offshoring – Capturing invoices electronically and uploading them to a web-based repository such as FileStore EDM means they can be accessed easily for processing by offshore operations anywhere in the world.

Scalable technology – Organisations can extend their initial investment by rolling out the same document capture technology to other business areas, such as employee records management, claim processing, order processing or case management. 

UK company Data Capure Solutions has helped clients such as ExxonMobil, Bentley Motors and Savills Property Management with the implementation of invoice automation. To find out more, speak to a DCS business consultant on 01753 616 720, or send an enquiry using our Contact Form.

Savills reduces processing costs with an Outsourced Invoice Processing and secure storage solution

ExxonMobil outsource European invoice receipt to DCS for instant access via the web