Automating Accounts Payable

CEOs and CFOs are expected to invest more money into accounts payable automation in 2011 as the economy continues to recover.

According to AP Matters, only around 5 percent of the world's invoices are fully automated, leaving plenty of room for increased automation. The source polled experts to identify accounts payable automation predictions for 2011. Henry Ijams, president of PayStream Advisors, an electronic payables research and advisory service based in Charlotte, North Carolina, told the source that accounts payable professionals only spend around 20 percent of their time on data entry – the rest is spent fixing broken processes. However, in lean years, companies begin reviewing internal processes in order to find ways to boost operational efficiency, notes the source. An accounts payable audit can reveal areas that need improvement.

Some essential accounts payable automation tools include front-end data capture, which scans invoices when they arrive; back-end data capture, which scans used documents into an archive; and electronic invoicing, which delivers invoices to suppliers electronically.

Accounts receivable can also benefit from automation, which can be achieved with the integration of customer relationship management tools and e-billing, the source notes .

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