February 23, 2024

How Automation Transforms AP From a Cost Center Into a Profit Center

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Blog > How Automation Transforms AP From a Cost Center Into a Profit Center


iDocuments AP Automation

This post was updated in February 2024.

Many businesses view accounts payable as a necessary evil. 

Supplier invoice processing consumes valuable resources, people, and time—and costs money. 

But thanks to technology, organizations are transforming accounts payable from cost centers into profit centers.

Outgrowing Existing Systems

How do you know your organization has outgrown its existing processes and systems for paying supplier invoices? 

These are the most common signs:

  • An increase in how long it takes, on average, to pay an invoice from the point of receipt
  • An increase in the resources needed to process supplier invoices
  • An increase in suppliers chasing unpaid invoices
  • An increase in how long ​it takes to close the month
  • A decrease in employee morale (they have less time to deal with more problems)

Embracing Change

You can solve these challenges by implementing an automation solution like iDocuments to manage accounts payable invoices from receipt to payment. 

iDocuments captures invoices as PDF attachments from emails, extracts the data, and presents the user with an invoice. All the invoice needs is a quick visual check before being submitted into an automated approval workflow. 

Designated staff receive an email prompting them to approve the invoice. Once ​approved, the invoice is automatically routed to the organization’s financial system, ready for payment. 

Modernizing your accounts payable process with iDocuments can result in invoices being ready for payment in as few as 36 hours from the point of receipt. And because invoices are processed with little user intervention, your team can focus on innovative, revenue-generating activities. 

Employee morale ​just went up!

Enhancing Your Solution

You can enhance iDocuments’s functionality by setting strict rules around ​issuing purchase orders, ensuring your organization issues purchase orders to cover all procurement. 

Automatically issuing purchase orders, securing approval, and recording the receipt of goods or services against the order means your organization uses three-way matching ​for approving purchase invoices. 

This enhancement further reduces the time it takes for an accounts payable invoice to be approved. And a good procurement policy doesn’t ​just transform the payment of accounts payable invoices. Raising purchase orders ​indicates your organization’s spend, allowing greater budgetary control and often preventing unnecessary spending. You can also consolidate spend into a single supplier, uncovering new opportunities for discounts.

Taking a Proactive Approach

Inefficient processes and late payments affect supplier relationships. It’s too late to act when your suppliers stop accepting your orders or delivering your goods. 

If you think your organization can’t afford an automated solution, consider the time and money you’re spending maintaining the status quo. Think about how automation will empower you to process increasing transactions with less effort. 

Then ask yourself, can you afford not to change?

Realizing Your Savings

We’ve made it easy for you to see how much your organization can save with iDocuments. 

Our ROI calculator uses real-world data to calculate the average cost per invoice processed. The calculation includes an uplift in full-time employee costs, projected savings from staff reallocation, and early settlement discounts. 

Access the calculator below!

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