Paper invoices in accounts payable on the cloud

Accounts payable (AP) is at the heart of any business, allowing it to avail services from third-party vendors and building strong supplier relationships. AP processes regularly deal with changes, evolving with the changing technology and tools available in the market. With the world going digital, one would assume AP is ready to leave paper invoices behind as more and more businesses embrace cloud accounting. But the truth is, many businesses (about 89% of SMEs) still use paper invoices and rely on things like invoice scanning, manual data entry, and manual processing when it comes to their AP processes. As a result, paper invoices in cloud accounting present many hurdles across the AP processes, especially regarding invoice processing.

Invoice processing in the accounts payable process

Invoice processing is – and always has been – an integral part of the accounts payable process, whether receiving paper invoices for manual processing or paperless invoices in cloud accounting. Once the accounts payable department receives an invoice, the first step is to verify the invoice details and communicate with the respective supplier if there are any errors, inaccuracies, or discrepancies in the invoice. Once you verify the invoice details, the next steps are to record the invoice in your AP system, process and approve the invoice, and issue payment. You cannot move away from these steps in traditional or cloud accounting. Still, paperless accounts payable processes can help you with AP automation and make the overall AP functions more efficient.

Issues with paper invoices in cloud accounting

Processing paper invoices is one of the biggest bottlenecks in modern AP processes. And although businesses spend hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to process paper invoices, it is difficult to get every supplier on board and have them send in paperless invoices. Apart from the exuberant costs, other issues with paper invoice processing that are driving modern businesses towards paperless AP automation are:

  • Time and resources required to process paper invoices
  • Data entry and manual processing errors
  • Invoice matching difficulties and processing inefficiencies
  • Potential loss of early payment discount or incurring late fees
  • Increased vulnerability to fraud attempts
  • Difficulties in reconciliation and audit-readiness
  • Reputational damage and strained supplier relationships

Taking invoice processing to the next level with paperless accounts payable processes

Focusing on the digitisation of your AP processes is one of the first steps you can take toward achieving accounts payable process automation. This requires you to focus on four key areas, namely,

  • Standardising and automating your upstream processes
  • Leveraging AI solutions
  • Phasing out paper invoices from cloud accounting
  • Outsourcing cloud services to optimise your AP operations

With these, you can take your invoice processing to the next level with paperless AP automation, which can offer you benefits like:

  • Improved document organisation
  • Timely identification and elimination of duplicate invoices
  • Increased data mobility across AP functions to support remote and hybrid workplaces
  • Automatic document backup for data reliability
  • Reduced environmental impact of your AP processes
  • Simplified cross-functional collaboration
  • Reduced invoice processing costs
  • Timely identification and prevention of payment fraud
  • Expedited customer payments
  • Enhanced regulatory compliance

These benefits highlight the fact that eliminating paper invoices in cloud computing and focusing on paperless accounts payable processes are the way to go if you want efficient and future-proof AP functions. It is now time to leave paper invoices in the past and move towards AP digitisation and automation.

*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?

Embrace paperless AP automation with a future-proof platform that enables end-to-end AP workflow automation to reduce your invoice processing time by up to 90% and drive ROI securely and reliably. Free up your resources, reduce your cost-per-invoice, and turn your invoice processing into a profit centre with Infosys BPM accounts payable cloud solutions.

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