Technological advances are changing accounts payable—not only streamlining processes and increasing efficiency, but potentially elevating the role of Accounts Payable (AP) within a company. Using technology to improve AP processes can enhance interdepartmental collaboration, provide strategic business insights, improve cash flow and save money. Here are some advances you may want to consider.
Automated data entry
While not exactly new, optical character recognition (OCR)—a form of artificial intelligence—has improved to the point where it can read data from an image—for example, invoice numbers, dates, amounts—and enter the values into accounting software. Potential advantages include:
Aggregating data from AP and other sources within your organization and using data analysis features in accounting software can help you identify trends and patterns and react accordingly. For example, you may notice an increase in AP invoices at certain times of the year. A rash of contractor invoices in a short period could help identify an area of the company where you may be short-staffed, or areas with the greatest growth potential where you may want to concentrate resources. Or, you can spot shifts in times between procurement and demand for payment and use the data to determine preferred and troublesome suppliers and whether you may need to alter their terms of payment.
Cloud and mobile access
Using cloud-based accounting systems has become more common for managing AP processes. Potential advantages include:
Increasing efficiencies to help grow your business
How far you go with integrating technology into your AP processes is dependent on your business model, the size and scale of your business and your strategic business goals. Consider a complete invoice-to-pay solution to automate your payables, save time and improve cash flow.[cite::171::cite] [cite::172::cite]