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How Advanced Data Capturing Solutions Improve AP Automation

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As businesses look for new opportunities to control labor costs and streamline operations, AP departments face incompatible pressure to improve the level of service they provide while also reducing the time and overall cost. To easily address the costly burden of manual entry, filing, storage, and data retrieval, AP teams implemented traditional ERP systems, electronic invoicing, document imaging, workflow, and archiving as excelling at a quicker pace as their competitors. But perhaps the systems offered to AP departments with transformational opportunities afforded by Advanced Data Capture, is the sophisticated feature which eliminates tedious data entry.

Document imaging systems have rapidly become the norm in accounts payable processes. Still, while these systems do offer significant efficiencies in record management. Many do not tackle the most time-consuming process for AP departments – manual entry of invoice data.

Advanced Data Capturing is an add-on technology to document imaging which completely eliminates manual entry of all invoice data. It utilizes the latest generation of extraction capability software, designed to capture data from unstructured forms such as invoices, regardless of the original format. Advanced Data Capturing reads the data from scanned invoices and quickly breaks down the various components within the invoice and identifies which key fields, based on the flow of the document and various triggers, needs to be recorded and captured.

In addition to labor cost savings, there are other financial benefits for invoices being entered into ERP faster. This technology virtually eliminates any invoice delays. Quick transfers of invoice data into the ERP system leads to increases in discounts taken, reduced late fees, and higher visibility into short-term liabilities for future financial planning and overall control. The truth is Advanced Data Capturing pays for itself rapidly.

Duplicate or inaccurate payments continue to present a major challenge for AP operations all over the globe. Data entry errors can be very costly. One of the main causes of duplicate payments is inconsistent manually keying in invoice data, with individual invoice numbering being the most common error. With Advanced Data Capturing, accuracy is significantly improved as the system automatically extracts the necessary data listed on the scanned invoice, eliminating any human error.

Advance Data Capturing technology plays a key role in the trends moving towards full automation of the manual processes in accounts payable. Automated workflows streamline the entire approval process and virtually eliminates the costs associated with paper pushing. Both can increase transparency in company operations with the ability to monitor invoices at various stages in order to trace and proactively address bottlenecks in real-time. Standardization of approvals and advanced audit controls will also be improved.

These latest trends present a standard change in the way AP departments function. Accounts Payable is no longer only paper-pushing and data entries. An often ignored back-office function from the past, now AP departments of the future will require a special set of expertise. Skills based on analysis and continuous improvements, which will add value to the business while still controlling costs. Through automation, business processes of standardization can be easily enforced and upheld, ensuring stability in both purchasing and invoice processing departments. Also, the increased timeliness and visibility into payables data will empower companies to improve management of vendors, contracts, purchasing trends, and capital.

The invoice data capturing systems of today can complete much more than just presenting invoice data in a digitized and structured form. Most solutions provide the ability to capture data from specific fields, then categorize each document using key values and features, review invoice data, and correct errors.

While the first- and second-generation solutions used templates with automated training methods to set up and facilitate classifications, the latest systems are built including machine learning and artificial intelligence. This technology empowers systems to locate the content of necessary data in order to find the relevant context of each document and categorize them correctly. Rather than using templates or reading specific titles or keywords. Meaning every time you process an invoice, the system learns and becomes smarter, constantly improving your classifications and validation of AP invoice data.

Invoice Data Capturing does not only help organizations internally reduce their dependence on manual data entries and cut costs. The technology also helps businesses pay invoices on time and thus earn possible vendor discounts. Therefore, the solution enables AP departments to earn more money for the organization and not just pay it out to vendors and other third parties. In the present global market, where businesses are continually looking for ways and means to cut costs, this is a huge added benefit to the entire company by providing invoice data capturing capabilities.

Bottom Line

The future is clear; any businesses opting for this transition into the coming days with new technology will help you identify each benefit ahead of the curve. The cost savings will have an immediate and constant effect. At the same time, the transformation of the AP department’s capabilities will provide the foundation of flexibility for years in the future by adding value to the entire organization.

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