Optimizing the Accounts Payable Workflow

Honor Donnie  |  June 3, 2020   |  AP Automation  


When it comes to the accounts payable workflow, there are multiple steps that AP service providers handle for their customers, from invoice receipt and approvals to coding, matching, and payment. Minimizing manual intervention throughout this multi-step workflow is critical to accelerate invoice processing and improve efficiency. AP service providers that take advantage of accounts payable workflow automation can achieve high levels of efficiency by digitizing their processes from end to end. 

A non-optimized accounts payable workflow

AP workflows that lack optimization typically rely on suppliers to send invoices via mail or email, requiring manual steps on the front end that can negatively impact efficiency. 50 percent of accounting personnel attribute their primary concerns with their current process to managing or eliminating manual tasks. These manual steps involve opening mail, printing and scanning invoices, and manual data entry. 


Read about the hidden inefficiencies of manual invoice capture >


Paper-based manual processes can be costly and are prone to an error rate of roughly one percent. A paper-based workflow requires a significant amount of human intervention due to multiple steps involved. Manually collecting invoices from multiple channels – mail, fax, and email – creates challenges and increases the chance of missing invoices or delayed payments, which then requires even more steps to follow up with the supplier and resolve the issues. 


Paper-based manual processes can be costly and are prone to an error rate of roughly 1%.


This delays downstream functions like approval, coding, and matching due to the manual effort needed to capture the invoice and enter invoice data. Bottlenecks related to non-optimized accounts payable workflows can easily be minimized by implementing 100 percent straight-through processing, to ease the customer’s concerns and improve their satisfaction with an AP service provider’s solution.  

An optimized accounts payable workflow

By integrating better technology into the accounts payable workflow, AP service providers can seamlessly optimize their processes. End users should be able to completely eliminate manual processes and human intervention by utilizing technology, such as automated aggregation of invoices directly from suppliers. 


Automation can increase the productivity of the AP department to process more than 5,000 invoices per FTE.


With an optimized process, automation can increase the productivity of the AP department to process more than 5,000 invoices per full-time employee. Accounts payable workflow automation also enables AP service providers to seamlessly support the processing of all invoice types, both PO and non-PO. As companies grow, optimization allows for a scalable solution that can accommodate invoice volume increases without difficulty.  

Get to know your accounts payable workflow automation options

Unfortunately, some suppliers have been slow to join P2P platforms or adopt EDI technology due to their reliance on paper-based and PDF invoices. This can prevent AP automation service providers from achieving a completely touchless accounts payable workflow. Even though there are a wide range of technologies that can capture data from paper and PDF-based invoices, not all are equally effective. 

Evaluating performance, especially as it relates to complex multi-page invoices like those from utility and telecom providers, may reveal areas of inefficiency that need to be addressed. Solutions like Urjanet Utility Invoice Capture for AP Automation can help you capture utility and telecom data digitally and at scale. With technology designed to optimize processing, you can improve internal efficiency and pass the savings on to your customers. Speak with an expert today to learn more about how to optimize your accounts payable workflow. 

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About Honor Donnie

Honor Donnie is a Marketing Coordinator at Urjanet, with a passion for content creation. When she’s not at Urjanet, she can be found reading, cooking, and listening to great music.

Tags   AP Automation   |   Operational Efficiency   |   Urjanet   |   Utility Bills   |