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AP Automation: A Lot to be Thankful For

23 Nov, 2015

In the field of manufacturing, there’s a lot to be thankful for, says Alyssa Kadansky for Manufacturing.net, including: power tools, protective equipment, computers and other machinery that make producing and distributing goods easier and more seamless. According to Kadansky:

In addition to these tools, those in the manufacturing industry may also be spending their Thanksgiving being thankful for the efficiencies they’ve gained from accounts payable automation.

AP automation provides a paperless solution for the paper-intensive processes involved in accounts payable. It allows AP departments to streamline financial and payables procedures by automating the capture and workflow of paper and electronic invoices.

AP automation and/or document management is an asset that all AP departments can be thankful for, but it provides manufacturing companies with a wide range of benefits. So, here are some reasons to be thankful for your AP automation solution.

Increased Efficiency

There isn’t much that an executive can be more thankful for than an efficient workplace with streamlined processes. Procedure manuals, trainings and regulations help make sure that a business is operating smoothly and that departmental processes are uniform, but a document management/AP automation solution takes efficiency to a whole new level. Those companies that have implemented AP automation are often thankful for efficiency gains that come with the reduction or complete elimination of paper documents. Rather than printing, mailing, scanning and hand-delivering invoices, an automated workflow is put into place. This means that invoices can be automatically routed for approval, rejected or escalated, searched, emailed and filed without you having to worry or waste valuable resources.

Heightened Accuracy

How many times have you NOT been thankful when an invoice comes in with a typo, when information is miskeyed, when a paper document is lost or when deadlines are missed? You can be extremely thankful that electronic document management helps alleviate these accidents and improve accuracy. Because documents are read, routed and filed electronically, manual data entry is a thing of the past. Automating processes also helps you make sure you’re taking full advantage of early-payment discounts and that invoices are being paid at the ideal time. Your risk of losing a document is higher when you have to physically deliver it to another person or file it in a filing cabinet. However, if you electronically send invoices to the correct person, you no longer have to worry about it getting buried under a stack of paperwork. Now that’s something to be thankful for!

Lower Costs

Consider the cost of basic office equipment that your business uses on a daily basis — printer ink, toner, paper clips, folders, filing cabinets, copy paper, postage, etc. These costs add up fast, as does the cost of labor associated with employees who spend countless hours every week scanning, printing and filing documents. If your company processes a substantial number of invoices every month, your return on investment (ROI) of implementing document management could be substantial. In fact, independent research has found productivity gains of as much as 82 percent in companies that automate processes with document management and workflow. We can all be thankful for saving some green!

Real-Time Analytics

Do you ever reminisce on the times when it took long stretches of time using things like dial-up Internet to do research on a topic and receive information? If your manager requested a report, you had to sift through information, wait for the Internet to connect, scan specific documents and pull together the data. As manufacturers, you are busy managing multiple projects, vendors, suppliers and customers, all while staying meticulously organized. So, when it comes to having the information and visibility that you need, you can be thankful that document management provides you with data and analytics in real-time. Data is continuously updated and dashboards reflect the most accurate information, meaning that you can pull the report that your team needs or that your manager is looking for in no time.

ERP Integration

There’s nothing better than a smooth integration with the systems you already have in place at your company. Manufacturing organizations often deploy an ERP solution to manage financial processes, so a document management system is a logical add-on. Whether you’re using Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite or another ERP, many document management solutions will integrate seamlessly to make your job even easier.

Thousands of manufacturers are thankful for the benefits of document management. One fresh-cut fruit manufacturer now sends orders directly to the company’s ERP solution and has reportedly eliminated 80 percent of remaining paper after implementing an AP automation solution. They have also saved 60-70 percent of the time needed to process paper invoices.

Additionally, another company replaced a manual three-way paper-matching system for invoices, purchase orders and packing slips. They were able to eliminate manual data entry and shorten payment cycles, while another company that implemented document management was able to eliminate the need for paper storage completely, saving them money and time every year.

This year, pass the turkey with a side of efficiency, accuracy and visibility. There are so many AP automation benefits to be thankful for.

About the Author: Alyssa Kadansky is the marketing communications specialist at Metafile Information Systems, a provider of document management software and the parent company behind MetaViewer Paperless ERP.

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