Accounts payable teams have no shortage of options when it comes to enterprise software that leverages business process automation capabilities to streamline workflows and generally make life easier for AP staff.
And for businesses that have embraced AP automation, there's just no turning back to the manually intensive and slower methods of handling invoices, processing payments and ensuring vendor relationships are sound.
For everyone else, there may be hesitation to embrace new technology, or uncertainty about getting buy in from AP staff. But these concerns are shortsighted when you consider the many advantages of using integrated AP automation software.
Beyond the big-picture cost and time savings such solutions can deliver to any business, AP automation frees accounts payable staff from a multitude of simple and often repetitive tasks. It also makes quick work of managing more complicated responsibilities, such as high-volume invoice matching.
As AP teams know all too well, invoice matching is an essential process in the AP workflow. Identifying errors or inconsistencies between vendor invoices and original purchase orders often becomes a complex grind as a company's invoice processing volume grows.
This is where an AI-driven AP automation solution shines. Sophisticated software makes it easy to upload purchase orders and invoices via optical character recognition (OCR) technology with automated two-way, three-way, and four-way matching.
Here are four potential complications in the purchase order-to-invoice matching process that you can easily manage with AP automation software:
Eliminate Partial Ship Invoices
Among the more frustrating discrepancies that can crop up in the invoice life cycle is when a vendor generates more than one invoice for the same purchase order.
Let's say your company issued a purchase order for 300 items, but only received 150. The second half of the order is set to be delivered at a later time, but sometimes that can lead to the creation of a second invoice for what was, essentially, the same initial PO.
Automated AP can identify when this happens, and notify AP teams. The best AP automation solutions will automatically create a folder in your system and rescan the invoice once the remaining portion of the PO is fulfilled, generating a single, complete invoice that reconciles any previous multiple invoices that were generated due to a partial shipment.
That's a big time saver for AP teams normally tasked with manually sorting out such P.O. based invoice document snarls.
Easily Manage, Many GL Codes
Some invoices are as simple as can be, with one GL code designated for payment due on a single item or service. And then there are others jammed with a multitude of GL codes from a single vendor.
Needless to say, the data-entry investment -- and potential for user errors -- can be daunting if your AP team is tasked to handle invoices with several, maybe scores of GL codes.
Sophisticated AP automation software can easily manage such document processing complications. By integrating with your company's existing ERP system, the software can look up and assign multiple GL codes automatically.
Process Multiple Line Items with AI
Digital purchase orders and invoice automation are the gold standard for the many ways they optimize the management of AP paperwork and tasks.
Consider the document management challenge that can arise when an invoice has multiple line items. This is another time quagmire for teams that rely on manual processing, but nothing to stress over when you're using an AP automation solution that has support for AI-powered OCR invoice processing.
Such software enables you to train the AI to recognize the first couple of line items, after which it automatically learns the right way to pull the data from the rest of the document -- even if the form has hundreds of line items.
Minimize with 4-Way Matching
Among the biggest advantages of AP automation when it comes to invoice processing is rooting out errors.
When handled manually, this requires AP teams to devote significant time laboring over stacks of invoices, purchase orders and related documents. This can become exponentially difficult as accounting staff plow through the layers of matching often required to ensure there aren't potentially costly discrepancies between purchase orders and invoice data.
AP teams generally employ several layers of document matching, such as the basic two-way approach that just confirms that the information in a purchase order and invoice match.
But the process becomes more complex as accounting staff moves on to three-way and four-way matching protocols. AP automation software can navigate through this process quickly and easily.
With workflow and process automation, accounting teams can streamline the bulk of this process, gaining visibility into every stage of the invoice-PO matching process.
A key element of this is the use of digitized documents at every step of the process -- another way to eliminate manual data-entry errors. Once in the system, rules can be set automatically for each stage of the PO-invoice process, from approvals to matching to verification.
A Simpler Solution
AP teams will always be challenged to reconcile any discrepancies between purchase orders and vendor invoices quickly and accurately.
Swiftly handling these often complex processes successfully will depend largely on whether a business' accounts payable operation is optimized with AP automation.
DocuPhase's AI-powered AP automation platform has the industry's best automated document-matching technology and can be configured to handle complex AP workflows, ensuring everything from invoice processing to payments run smoothly.
This end-to-end, procure-to-purchase payment tool integrates seamlessly into a company's existing ERP, eliminating the need to input information across multiple applications.
Ready to level up your AP team with automation? Request a demo today.