Simplify The Account Payable Process

Companies faces a variety of challenges when dealing with the account payable process.

Some of this problems arise from a lack of automation whereas others emerge from the complexity of the matching process and other aspects of the invoice processing. Some of the processes individual items are illustrated in this classification:

  1. Scanning & indexing of invoices & support documents ƒ
  2. Capture invoice doc types: paper, fax email, EDI & files ƒ
  3. Invoice visibility within 24 hrs of receiving ƒ
  4. Improved SOX compliance & control ƒ
  5. Coding of non-purchase order invoices ƒ
  6. Line item matching of purchase orders, receiving records & invoices
  7. ƒ Exception processing for unmatched invoices & discrepancies
  8. ƒ Automated routing for online approval & general ledger ƒ Ad-Hoc reporting
  9. ƒ Vendor portal for viewing payment status & history ƒ Payments by check

There are several pain points in the process that include the cycle time to process a single invoice, the volume of the invoices processed. Studies have reported that the cost of processing a single invoice manually is somewhere between US$7 and US$50, while invoice processing automation has been proven to reduce that cost per invoice by 50%-80%.

Eliminating Manual keying, reducing administrative costs and error rates on any incoming invoice will automatically benefit your business. Being able to automatically capture and sort information by buyer, supplier, country and invoice type is a net productivity advantage for every business.

A study from the accounting consulting firm Deloitte indicates that the automation in account payable process results in more liquidity for your company. This can be understood when it comes to the process of matching invoices with orders, received items and scan for duplicates. Search for duplicate invoice numbers is a much more difficult endeavor in an entirely manual accounting system. In this case, the payables clerk can search through the vendor file and unpaid invoices file to see if an invoice just received from a supplier has already been paid. In many situations, the volume of incoming supplier invoices makes this so difficult that the payable staff abandons any attempt to identify duplicate invoices, and simply accepts that it will occasionally pay for such items. Therefore if more efficiency is brought to these three sub components of the account payable process, companies can save wasted double payments and increase their liquidity.

Several solutions exist in the market for a fully automated process that can integrate in EPR systems. However some companies may chose to automate only some of the processes highlighted in this table.

In the latter case it is paramount to scan and capture the invoice documents and convert them into human editable format like excel or machine readable software like XML. For small and medium business with the absence of an IT department in house a good solution is to convert incoming documents into excel. Tabex allows to convert multiple files at one time both from pdf to excel and via its OCR scanner from print to excel. Companies can than use the inherent flexibility of Excel to manage the process of matching and account payable reconciliation.

Tabex offers also the ability to create templates and then automate the process of extracting only certain data field from one invoice model. It is often the case that one company invoice, while can differ in the items listed, is usually delivered in a consistent and persistent document format. The template builder option offered by Tabex allows you to identify recurring formats and automate the process of digitized all data in the invoice stream from a specific vendor.

Tabex offers also an interesting solution for system integrators that help companies in automating their account payable process. Tabex PDF to Excel API is a PDF API that offers precision in automatically identify tabular information and flexibility to be inserted in a varity of process flow. The PDF API offers all the functions available on Tabex cloud platform. That includes a performing OCR scanner, the ability to convert the input file from OCR to PDF and from pdf to XML. XML is a machine readable format very versatile and flexible to be integrated in your other software processes.

In summary companies of all sizes benefit from the reduction of manual work in the account payable process. Small business and system integrators can benefit from partial process automation by making use of precise and versatile cloud services alongside with high performing PDF API.

Originally published at on March 21, 2016.

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