One of the most common functions within an organization is invoice processing. Considered the primary responsibility of the Accounts Payable (AP) department, invoice processing includes a series of tasks that start when an invoice is received from a supplier or vendor, and finishes when the invoice is paid and recorded within the company’s general ledger. Although it’s one of the most critical and essential functions within any business, it’s also one of the most repetitive, time-sensitive, and resource-intensive tasks.
According to an article in CFO, a study of nearly 1,000 organizations found that there’s a big gap between organizations who consistently streamline their invoices and those who get bogged down in manual, time-consuming invoice processing tasks. Specifically, the study found that low performing organizations spent two-and-a-half times more than high performing organizations per invoice and that nearly three-quarters of all companies analyzed ‘incur higher costs than top performers to carry out the same activity’ of invoice processing. The reason? The manual intervention required to process the invoices.
Invoice Processing Has Come a Long Way
Manual invoice processing is a big hassle for Accounts Payable departments, even for the simplest of processes. Routing invoices for approval and connecting all the systems involved takes time away from more value-added tasks, especially with the volume of invoices that need to be paid. Accounts Payable automation and robotic process automation (RPA) have transformed and streamlined manual invoice processing. And as the study above indicates, these solutions clearly set apart organizations who can effectively minimize manual intervention in processing invoices.
AP automation with an RPA solution, like Fortra Automate RPA, have enormous value for companies not only in time saved, but also in getting early payment discounts, avoiding late fees, and the incalculable value of knowing that your invoice will be processed without errors and in a timely manner. Leveraging this type of digital document and process management for invoice processing helps ensure your accounting teams can reduce manual data entry, decrease time chasing down invoices, and avoid manual matching of purchase orders, saving your organization a lot of time and money.
The Era of Intelligent Invoice Processing Is Here
Reducing the burden of processing invoices doesn’t stop there. The key to unleashing the true power of invoice processing automation is through artificial intelligence and unassisted machine learning that can handle the semi-structured data often found on invoices and purchase orders.
Let’s take a step back to understand how. In organizations today, there are two main types of data—structured and unstructured data—and they are not created equal. Structured data is the data you are typically used to working with. It’s organized, clearly defined, quantitative, and searchable. Think Excel spreadsheets. Traditional RPA excels at processing structured data. Unstructured data, on the other hand, is typically qualitative. It’s often difficult to interpret and analyze because it has no pre-defined structure.
The introduction of AI and machine learning helps extract meaning from semi-structured and unstructured data and documents. Just like in your invoices. And more importantly, when applied in context of robotic process automation, organizations can apply intelligence to invoice processing for use in eliminating costly steps like document classification, manual data entry, and document analysis.
That’s because intelligent document processing calls upon unassisted machine learning algorithms that enable automatic self-learning for previously unseen documents. This means the solution learns which document information to capture in your invoices, getting smarter and more accurate over time. Combining this with a robust classification and categorization engine that leverages artificial intelligence ensures rapid document processing of your invoices, enabling you to avoid manual data entry into your ERP systems, decreasing errors, and easily managing invoice volume.
Intelligent Invoice Processing Delivers Tangible Benefits
If any portion of your invoice processing requires manual sorting or data entry, ask yourself how many invoices are being manually entered into your ERP each month? How many people do this on average per month in your company? And if they weren’t entering invoices manually, what else could they be doing? Intelligent invoice processing reduces delays and errors associated with these manual tasks, completely eliminates manual data entry, and even sets you up for early payment discounts to improve your vendor relationships.
Automate Intelligent Capture leverages the best in intelligent document processing to both enhance the power of RPA, including our top-rated RPA solution Automate Plus, using AI and machine learning capabilities. This is possible because Automate Intelligent Capture automatically learns data fields on invoices by leveraging custom machine learning algorithms without endless hours of building templates. What else can you achieve when you take invoice processing to the next level? Here are a few benefits your business—and your people—will experience:
- Eliminate gathering and sorting of invoices and supporting documentation
- Put an end to manual data entry, including both summary and line-item information
- Get more accurate invoice data into your ERP faster
- Stop relying on separator sheets for invoice document preparation
- Start processing invoices within hours of setup
Combined with Fortra Automate, our intelligent document processing solution can reduce manual data entry and tasks associated with invoice processing between 60 to 90 percent in your business. It’s all possible, but it just takes the right intelligent invoice processing solution to get you there.
Ready to See How Your Company Can Benefit from Intelligent Invoice Processing?
Let us show you what’s possible with the power of intelligent document processing and RPA. Request your own demo today to see Automate Intelligent Capture in action.