Invoice processing involves a sequence of precise tasks, including data entry, posting, assignment, approval, and payment. When performed manually, these tasks take time and can quickly become cumbersome. Handling them automatically therefore represents considerable time savings for companies, including those with a moderate volume of invoices. According to the Aberdeen Group research firm, automation can reduce processing time by an average of 46%. The time saved can then be reapplied to other activities with higher value added for the company, thereby further increasing overall team productivity. With respect to suppliers, process automation is still the easiest way to shorten payment times, which, according to the APECA survey, normally range from thirty to sixty days.
Handling invoices electronically enables organizations to automate a number of tasks that had previously been based on paper. Converting documents to electronic format simplifies and rationalizes processes overall, while increasing reliability. For example, a feature such as automatic data recognition speeds up data entry and makes it more dependable, and can, for example, include the ability to automatically create new supplier profiles if they do not already exist in the supplier database. Users can check invoice status at any time. In addition, access is easy using search tools and users can intervene to handle specific cases when necessary.
Automating accounting processes, in particular invoice processing, is a means for any company, regardless of its size, to achieve significant savings. Published in 2009, the latest Aberdeen Group survey dedicated to invoice automation points out the fact that automation reduces invoice processing costs by 50% on average (130 companies participated in the survey). The companies that implement a higher level of automation reduce their costs and processing times by nearly 90%. The Markess International survey also highlights the savings introduced by eliminating paper, including printing and storage costs and more, as well as the benefits resulting from being able to share resources and centralize invoice processing.