Choosing the right cloud-based AP software: A buyer’s guide

Successful businesses see payment processing as a way to enhance their business performance. The Accounts Payable (AP) function is a vital part of the Finance and Accounting (F&A) department and is responsible for making payments to vendors and suppliers on time. Accounts payable automation software is the tool that transforms the laborious task of invoice processing into a profitable operation, giving your business a significant boost.

A 2022 survey concluded that 98% of businesses considered that automating their AP would make their payables management quicker and more efficient. It also found that around 93% of businesses were expecting a 30% increase in their monthly payables within the next few years.

What is accounts payable automation?

An accounts payable automation software automates various manual processes such as filing, data entry, payment processing, cash management, approval processing, etc. It also digitises invoicing through “invoice capture” using OCR (optical character recognition) technology to scan and process invoice data. A good accounts payable software system should seamlessly integrate with the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system.

Cloud-based AP vs on-premise AP

A cloud-based accounts payable automation software has many distinctive advantages over a traditional desktop-based one. Some of them are:

  • Storage
  • The most tangible advantage of the cloud model is the massive storage capacity that it offers. Volumes of storage servers can be at your disposal for a fee, at a fraction of the cost incurred if you were to buy the storage.

  • Mobility
  • Today’s business execs and professionals are always on the go, and the advent of Android mobile computing has led to significant mobility in business operations. APOC is a way of maximising that mobility, and it enables executives to run business operations or queries on the move.

  • Upgradability
  • A plethora of third-party tech stacks are available to bolster existing accounts payable software systems. This way, you can always stay on top of the game.

  • User scalability
  • Cloud-based systems permit a limitless number of authenticated end users, unlike desktop ones. This enhances the flexibility and accessibility of an AP system.

  • Security
  • Security is robust in a cloud-based facility, and data is typically ultra-secure with dedicated servers and the latest software systems in place.

  • Backup
  • Backing up data is another area where APOC wins hands down over traditional platforms. Manual backing up can often be tedious, and cloud-based systems facilitate 24/7, automated backing up of your data.

  • Flexible fee structures
  • APOC systems offer a multitude of flexible subscription options for clients.

Features and characteristics to look for

Once we establish why and how we could put APOC to use, we can identify our needs and solutions to address them. In the case of APOC, where the primary targets are to accelerate and automate the AP process and ensure cutting-edge data security and compliance, a few features become essential.

Trust and reliability

The reliability of your APOC system is absolutely non-negotiable. Businesses carry out financial transactions in huge volumes, and even a minute error or miscalculation can result in losses. Apart from financial losses, the reputation of a business is also at stake. Hence, it is important to select a trustworthy platform.

Latest technologies

It is also important to determine that an APOC platform is up-to-date with recent technological developments. Some advancements in APOC include verified data capture and RPA (robotic process automation). The platform should also be resistant to new and evolving security breaches.

BPaaS model

This is a highly efficient model wherein BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) services are delivered through the cloud services model. Through this model, an APOC platform can leverage cloud computing technologies to offer unbeatable business services that may result in a transformative stakeholder experience.

Touchless invoice processing using AI and ML

This fully automated process has replaced the age-old practice of paper invoices. This process has also eliminated manual touchpoints and the exhaustive practice of manually matching purchase orders with invoices. Here, AI and ML tools are utilised to streamline the invoice processing workflow.

Intelligent extraction and enrichment of your data

Intelligent extraction of data combines the clever use of OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology with other technologies like text classification and NER (Named Entity Recognition) to digitally extract structured data from unstructured sources.

*For organisations on the digital transformation journey, agility is key in responding to a rapidly changing technology and business landscape. Now more than ever, it is crucial to deliver and exceed organisational expectations with a robust digital mindset backed by innovation. Enabling businesses to sense, learn, respond, and evolve like living organisms will be imperative for business excellence. A comprehensive yet modular suite of services is doing precisely that. Equipping organisations with intuitive decision-making automatically at scale, actionable insights based on real-time solutions, anytime/anywhere experience, and in-depth data visibility across functions leading to hyper-productivity, Live Enterprise is building connected organisations that are innovating collaboratively for the future.

How can Infosys BPM help?

The Infosys BPM acounts payable cloud solution is a SaaS platform that has revolutionised the AP (Accounts Payable) landscape. Leveraging technologies like AI and ML, the platform has digitalised the invoice-to-pay process to offer an unparalleled stakeholder experience.

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