How to streamline accounts payable to bring down the costs

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The direct and indirect costs of traditional manual processing are increasingly becoming a burden to large businesses.

The benefits to invoice automation, however, go beyond cost reduction alone. Automating the full invoice lifecycle from the time they are received, to the time they are authorized for payment, allows your business to eliminate paper handling entirely and provide efficiencies at every stage of the process. This enables you to correctly pay a high percentage of invoices without delaying the process with human intervention and gain full data visibility at line-level, so your business can take control of overall costs.


The challenges manually processed invoices pose to your business

Invoice processing, for many businesses, is the most paper-intensive operation, with too much manual human intervention delaying from the end goal. It’s extremely labor-intensive for many AP teams that tend to be under-resourced or struggle to expand to meet business demand.

Manual invoice processing is likely presenting several problems to your business, including a lack of visibility of outstanding liabilities, invoices being beyond the discount period even before they enter the AP process or duplicate payments being made. Other challenges you might see include paying invoices that are inaccurate due to incorrect data input, resources in the AP department wasted on checking, validating, and approving invoices, or long costly and problematic audits.

This is all external to the direct cost of invoice processing – the operating costs will only grow if your process is more complex. Businesses that rely on traditional invoicing are going to find it increasingly difficult to compete in their market with businesses that have already invested in invoice automation. Why? With the risk of errors increased in traditional invoicing due to manual checking, more delays are likely, and a risk of further costs due to mistakes will always be present. 


Invoice automation: the smarter way to process your invoices

The advantages of fast, accurate invoice processing are far-reaching. Simply by reducing the direct cost of invoice handling, your return on investment would be rapid.

For a start, you can reduce the direct cost of invoice processing costs, ensure proper payments, validation and approval with rules-based automation, reduce overall purchase costs, improve procurement effectiveness and strengthen your supplier relationships with better, more streamlined processes.

It makes sense if the supplier can email a digital invoice, without having to change any of their processes and without incurring any costs, and for the buyer to be able to process that invoice quickly. If that process can happen, then within 24 hours of the order going out, the goods are received and the invoice is processed, then you've got the opportunity for some of that dynamic discounting that you're talking about. And the percentages that you can gain can be quite significant.

How does it work?

CloudTrade’s solution is all about streamlining to drive a reduction in manual processing, and processing times, but also without having to alter and impact the sending organization's ability to transact digitally with a buyer. We can automate volumes of documents very quickly, usually within a few minutes, but again with 100% accuracy, to make sure that the data that's coming in meets all of the requirements of the receiving party to make sure that all of the validations are done, to make sure that the data that we're extracting drives downstream processing as much as it does point of capture.

With regards to inbound orders or inbound invoices, it's about having the ability to extract data off that document, and process it, so that when it's received the recipient can trust the quality of that data to enable them to manage – effectively and automatically with no human touch - the transaction. That's exactly CloudTrade's operating model, and it has been from day one because of our unique approach.

Would you like to learn more about how we automate AP processes to enhance business operations?

Read more here about how we developed the automation of 30,000 invoices for one of our customers.