What is AP automation?


What is accounts payable (AP) automation?

Accounts payable (AP) automation refers to the process of using technology and software solutions to streamline and optimize the management of accounts payable tasks within an organization. It involves automating various aspects of the AP process, such as invoice processing, payment approvals, vendor management, and data entry, among others. AP automation typically utilizes advanced technologies like optical character recognition (OCR), machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) to capture, extract, and process data from invoices and other financial documents. By automating these manual and time-consuming tasks, AP automation helps improve efficiency, accuracy, and productivity in the accounts payable department. It also enables organizations to reduce costs, eliminate errors, enhance vendor relationships, and gain better visibility and control over their financial processes. Overall, AP automation plays a crucial role in streamlining the accounts payable workflow, enabling businesses to optimize their financial operations and focus on strategic activities.

The role of document AI in AP automation

Document AI, or Intelligent Document Processing (IDP), plays a significant role in accounts payable (AP) automation. It leverages advanced technologies like optical character recognition (OCR), natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning to analyze and understand various types of documents, such as invoices, purchase orders, and receipts.

In the context of AP automation, Document AI enables the automated extraction of critical information from these documents, such as vendor details, invoice numbers, payment amounts, and due dates. It eliminates the need for manual data entry, reducing the chances of errors and improving efficiency. By automatically capturing and processing data from invoices, Document AI speeds up the AP workflow, allowing for faster payment processing and improved cash flow management.

Additionally, Document AI can verify the accuracy and validity of invoices by comparing the extracted information against predefined rules and data stored in the system. It can detect discrepancies, such as duplicate invoices or incorrect payment amounts, and flag them for further review. This helps ensure compliance and reduces the risk of fraudulent activities.

How and where RPA can be used in AP automation?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a technology that can be effectively utilized in accounts payable (AP) automation to automate repetitive, rule-based and mundane tasks. RPA can be used in several areas of AP automation, including invoice sourcing from emails or folders to data entry to payment processing, and vendor management. For instance, RPA bots can be deployed to source invoices from email and send them to an AI model for data extraction. It can also be used to match purchase orders, and enter the information into the AP system, eliminating the need for manual data entry and reducing errors. RPA can also be used to automate the routing and approval process by creating workflows that automatically send invoices to the appropriate individuals for review and authorization. Furthermore, RPA can facilitate payment processing by generating payment instructions, performing bank reconciliations, and initiating electronic payments.

RPA becomes unavoidable when the AP team deals with desktop based ERP such as Infor visual or quickbook desktop.  By leveraging RPA in AP automation, organizations can achieve increased accuracy, improved efficiency, and reduced processing time, enabling AP professionals to focus on more strategic tasks and exception handling.

What is Invoice processing platform

An invoice processing platform is a software solution designed to automate and streamline the entire process of handling invoices within an organization. It provides a centralized platform where invoices can be received, processed, validated, and approved digitally. The platform leverages advanced technologies like AI, OCR, and RPA to extract key data from invoices, such as vendor information, invoice numbers, payment amounts, and due dates. It eliminates the need for manual data entry, reducing errors and saving time. The platform also enables automated validation and matching of invoices against purchase orders or contracts, ensuring accuracy and compliance. It facilitates efficient invoice routing and approval workflows, enabling stakeholders to collaborate and provide timely approvals. Additionally, an invoice processing platform may integrate with the organization’s accounting or ERP system, allowing for seamless transfer of data and generating payment instructions. Overall, an invoice processing platform enhances efficiency, accuracy, and transparency in the invoice management process, enabling organizations to streamline their accounts payable function and improve financial operations.

AP automation utilizing AI and RPA technologies has revolutionized the way organizations manage their accounts payable processes. By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, machine learning, OCR, and RPA, businesses can achieve significant improvements in efficiency, accuracy, and productivity. AI and RPA enable the automation of repetitive and rule-based tasks such as invoice processing, data entry, payment processing, and vendor management, reducing manual effort and minimizing errors. These technologies facilitate the extraction and validation of data from invoices, automate approval workflows, ensure compliance, and enhance overall financial operations. AP automation using AI and RPA empowers organizations to streamline their accounts payable function, optimize cash flow management, strengthen vendor relationships, and focus on strategic initiatives. With the potential to drive cost savings, process efficiencies, and improved decision-making, AP automation using AI and RPA is transforming the way businesses manage their financial processes and unlocking new opportunities for growth and success.

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