Completing the ‘Last Mile’ of AP Automation If you’ve ever run a long-distance race, you know that the last mile can be the hardest. The
No IT resource for AP Automation? No problem
What’s stopping your business from automating its AP invoice processing?
If you’re like a lot of other businesses, a lack of IT resources is the biggest thing standing in the way of AP automation.
There never seems to be enough IT resources to go around. But technical resources are stretched thread bare these days as IT tries to support the sudden shift to remote working. IT departments also were not immune to the cost cutting necessitated by the economic recession. And there always seems to be lots of automation projects competing for the meager technical resources that are available. For instance, an ERP implementation can hold up other automation projects for years.
AP departments cannot afford to wait. Overnight, the operational disruption caused by the shift to remote working exposed and exacerbated the shortcomings in the way most businesses process their invoices. It’s hard to adapt manual and semi-automated invoice approval processes to a remote work environment. Paper invoices can remain untouched for days if no one is in the office to open the mail and key the invoice data. It takes longer to approve invoices. Chasing down the information to respond to supplier inquiries about the status of invoices is more burdensome. The invoice data that senior management needs to make decisions is not readily available. And the risk of fraud is greater.
It is no wonder that 71 percent of AP departments plan to automate their invoice processing, per the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM). In fact, 41 percent of AP leaders who describe their department as being “largely automated” plan to refresh or upgrade their invoice processing technology. Other AP departments plan to automate their invoice processing for the first time.
AP departments want to find ways to reduce costs, accelerate cycle times, and eliminate errors.
How cloud OCR solutions make AP automation easier
Cloud OCR solutions make it possible to automate AP even when IT resources are limited (or nil).
- Fast deployment. No business has the resources or the time for a long and risky automation project. Cloud OCR solutions can be deployed fast, and without disrupting existing business processes and workflows. Best-in-class cloud OCR solutions can be up and running in as a little as a day. How can this be? Cloud OCR solutions don’t require the installation of complicated software or scanners. The technology is easy to configure. Training is intuitive and can be done from anywhere. And the advanced technology used in Cloud OCR solutions eliminates the need for open-ended professional services contracts to train the software.
- Ease of integration. Businesses have too much riding on their accounting and ERP systems to allow poor integration with the systems that feed them. Cloud OCR solutions provide seamless no-code integration with any legacy accounting or ERP application. Tight integration with downstream systems enables AP to validate and match invoice data.
- Streamlined system maintenance. Upgrading on-premises OCR solutions can be costly and onerous on IT and departmental staff. Some on-premises OCR solutions providers charge thousands of dollars for upgrades. Not surprisingly, many businesses struggle to keep up with the latest version of their on-premises software. Cloud OCR solutions put the burden of software upgrades, product enhancements, and bug fixes on the shoulders of the technology provider. The latest software is automatically available to users. IT leaders also have peace of mind that the software their AP department is using has the latest security measures.
- Better fit. Few things undermine an AP automation project more than discovering that a new capture solution will require users to reengineer their processes and procedures. In this scenario, processes may be automated in the wrong sequence or staff might waste a lot of time reconfiguring things. Cloud OCR solutions eliminate the possibility of the technology being a bad fit by allowing AP departments to try the technology before they buy it.
With cloud OCR solutions, AP departments can automate their operations – for the first time or by refreshing their existing invoice processing technology – with little or no IT resources.
Learn more about how AP departments can automate with cloud OCR solutions.
Click here to learn details of a free educational webinar we are hosting for AP leaders, “Why Cloud OCR is a Game Changer for Accounts Payable“.
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