6 Ways Digital Document Management Makes Accounts Payable (AP) a Breeze
1. Capture Available Early Pay Discounts
One reason organizations don’t take advantage of vendor discounts is that they don’t have a defined workflow to consistently identify, flag and process invoices in the required time frame to qualify for the discount.
With the speed, efficiency, and automation that comes with the right document management software, AP staff can process required invoices and documents on time or ahead of schedule. This allows them to consistently take advantage of all eligible discounts while decreasing the cost to process invoices. Streamlining the cycle time to pay your suppliers on time also maintains positive relationships and elevates your brand in the marketplace.
2. Reduce the Costs of Long-term Data Preservation
Put an end to the paper chase! Depending on how you currently handle data preservation, records retention and disposal, your savings can be significant.
- Storage and Transportation: Keeping documents in offsite storage (along with transporting them to and from a location) can be costly. Electronic document management virtually eliminates this overhead, directly affecting the bottom line.
- Filing and Locating Documents: AP staff can spend hours looking for files and filing them when they could be working on more strategic tasks and initiatives. Reducing the labor hours required for these time-consuming and tedious tasks can also boost employee morale and reduce turnaround time for document processing.
- Repurposing Space: Use less space for filing cabinets and more space for people. Thanks to electronic document management, onsite storage space is drastically reduced or eliminated, allowing you to reclaim and repurpose the space to support revenue-generating and productive activities, whether it’s offices, work and collaboration areas or a new indoor recreational area.
3. Ease of Access
It’s no secret that our world is more interconnected than ever, and that organizations need to think globally when it comes to their needs, whether it’s for their own staff or their clients.
Digital document management solutions address this by allowing for ease of access. Instead of sending physical invoices through an inconsistent, manual workflow to acquire approvals, a digital document management solution makes invoices, forms, contracts, and support documents easier to track, locate, view, share and approve for payment in a timely and efficient manner.
In addition, a complete digital document management solution should support un-tethered access to processes and documents from a mobile app. This way authorized users can view, review and approve invoices with the touch of a button, as well as access forms or documents on the go, anytime, anywhere.
4. Stay in Compliance with Laws and Regulations
Today’s AP professionals need to support compliance with a variety of federal, state and local laws and regulations, including the Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX) and adhere to standards such as the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
Digital document management can make the compliance process easier for both AP staff and auditors by allowing you to:
- Create an audit trail that logs all activity on critical documents.
- Automatically flag suspicious or unauthorized modifications to data or configuration settings
- Index documents for easy search and retrieval.
- Automate document capture and classification to reduce input errors that slow down audits
- Support—with the help of security controls—that auditors are viewing authentic and reliable information.
- Facilitate ease of access for all stakeholders, including auditors.
- Support consistent implementation of regulatory compliance requirements by automating records management and enforcing best practices for secure access.
5. Increase Process Visibility and Oversight
Visibility and oversight of processes are essential to keep AP running efficiently, but sometimes this can be a challenge without the right tools. This is where digital document management comes in. With a solution that can keep track of documents, where they go and the status, it’s never been easier to review and approve documents with the appropriate oversight.
In addition, digital document management solutions can gather data on workflows and how documents are being processed with reporting and analytics dashboards. See the whole process history of a document at a glance, including who approved it, when and how long the approval took. This gives AP staff insight into process bottlenecks, along with the ability to identify inefficiencies and hidden opportunities for improvement.
6. Leverage AP Staff Resources on Higher–Value Activities
Knowledge gained from increased process visibility goes beyond identifying staff needs. It’s a tool your AP staff can use for forecasting, analysis and reporting. With this data, they can make more informed and strategic decisions as they manage cash flow and allocate resources.
With the right digital document management solution, AP staff can spend more time on strategic initiatives in addition to expanding, maintaining, and enhancing relationships with vendors and cross-functional lines of business.
Want to learn more about the strategic advantages that can be gained by implementing an AP automation solution? Check out this infographic and see how process automation can help your organization gain a strategic advantage and tackle the challenges of invoice processing.