Beyond Disruptions: A Deep Dive into AP Automation’s Role in Business Resilience
Have you ever considered how your business might withstand unforeseen challenges?
Picture this scenario: an unexpected disaster disrupts your operations, bringing what once ran smoothly to a grinding halt.
As catastrophic as this may sound, it’s not all doom-and-gloom. There is a powerful solution at your disposal. Enter Accounts Payable (AP) automation—a game-changer that can help to keep your critical processes running seamlessly, even in the midst of chaos.
What started as a traditional paper-based process has transformed into a dynamic powerhouse. But AP automation isn’t just a tool: it’s the process that businesses embrace to streamline operations and cut down on errors, as well as save time and money
It also happens to be an unsung hero during times of crisis, and a critical component of disaster recovery planning.
The Business Case for AP Automation
As businesses scale, the complexities of their financial operations grow, and manual accounts payable (AP) processes can become a roadblock to efficiency and growth. This is where AP automation steps into the spotlight.
Benefit 1: Saves Time and Reduces Errors
An essential part of building a business case for AP automation lies in its ability to save time and reduce errors. A study by Ardent Partners found that an average invoice takes up to 11 days to process manually but with AP automation, it drops down to just 5 days.1.
This means less time spent on manual data entry, fewer chances for human error, and quicker payment cycles.
You need less people to process AP and eliminate the mistakes made by the people who remain, which in turn, saves you time and money while letting you better cash flow.
Benefit 2: Cuts Costs
Regardless of the size of an organization, cutting costs always holds value. According to AIIM Research2, companies spend an average of $12 per paper invoice processed. But with AP automation suites like IntelliChief at play, this cost is significantly reduced, as these solutions are designed specifically to automate repetitive tasks such as processing invoices for payment.
In fact, a recent report from Levvel Research also states that high performing organizations using automated systems have seen approximately 81% lower costs per invoice than their peers3. This is a testament to the potential savings AP automation can offer.
Benefit 3: Enhances Supplier Relationships
Supplier relationships are key to any business’s success. Automated invoicing and payments ensure your suppliers always get their money on time, putting an end to lost or late payments and reducing the time spent by AP staff replying to inquiries on payment status or errors in payment amount.
The Role of AP Automation in Disaster Recovery Planning
Disruptions can hit a business at any time, but with accounts payable automation, companies can stay ahead.
Here’s how it can aid in disaster recovery planning to help ensure some semblance of business continuity during disruptions.
Business Continuity: The Role of AP Automation
No one likes interruptions, especially not businesses. When unexpected disruptions strike – from natural disasters to global pandemics – they throw a wrench into operations. But with AP automation, the gears keep turning smoothly.
The key lies in digitization. Manual paper-based processes are vulnerable to physical damage or loss. Imagine trying to retrieve invoices from an office engulfed by fire or flooded by a storm. With digital documents stored securely on cloud servers, your financial data remains safe and accessible, regardless of what’s happening around you.
Data Recovery and Protection
Digital storage is just part of the equation, however. Protection is another vital component that comes with AP automation for successful disaster recovery planning. With advanced encryption methods like AES 256-bit standard used for securing sensitive information against cyber threats, you’ve got double assurance, meaning protection from both physical damage and virtual attacks.
Apart from safeguarding your data against potential risks such as ransomware attacks or hacking attempts, automated backup routines also make sure all essential documents get replicated across multiple secure locations regularly without human intervention. So even if disaster strikes one server location due to unforeseen circumstances like power outages or hardware failure, there’s always another ready-to-go copy available elsewhere thanks to the backups provided through AP automation.
Remote Accessibility and Work Continuity
The recent global pandemic taught us that remote work is not just a trend, but a necessity. When offices shut down overnight due to lockdowns, companies with AP automation in place were able to continue their operations virtually seamlessly.
Because employees could access necessary documents from anywhere at any time. All they needed was an Internet connection.
Not only is this feature beneficial in the face of unprecedented events, but it’s also a great asset for everyday work. Imagine if a key team member is away from the office for personal reasons, or there’s an unexpected need for information while you’re on a business trip. It ensures continuity and efficiency no matter where you are.
Future Trends in AP Automation
AP automation is not a static field. Accounts payable automation is continually changing and adapting to the ever-evolving business world. This constant flux gives rise to new trends that are set to redefine how you approach accounts payable tasks.
The Rise of AI-Powered AP Solutions
A growing trend within the realm of AP automation is the increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI). As businesses seek more efficient ways to manage their invoices and payments, they’re turning towards AI-powered solutions for help.
This isn’t just some fad – there’s data backing up this shift. According to MarketsandMarkets research, the global AI market size will grow from $58.3 billion in 2023 to $309.6 billion by 2026 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 39.7% during the forecast period.
AI offers several benefits over traditional manual processes:
- Precision: The risk of human error decreases significantly when you let machines handle your data entry work.
- Speed: Manual invoice processing can be slow and tedious, but with an automated system powered by machine learning algorithms, thousands of invoices can be processed every hour.
- Ease-of-Use: Machine learning models continue improving themselves based on previous interactions making them smarter and easier-to-use over time.
Moving Towards Real-Time Processing
We live in an era where speed matters: everyone wants things done now rather than later, even if ‘later’ means only waiting for a few minutes. This impatience extends to the realm of accounts payable, with businesses now demanding real-time processing.
Imagine an AP process that’s not just automated, but that also happens in real time. As soon as an invoice enters your system, it gets validated, matched, GL coded and vouchered for payment instantly with no delays whatsoever.
The need for quick satisfaction and effectiveness in monetary exchanges is continuously propelling advancement forward. And it’s this desire for instant gratification and efficiency in financial transactions that continues to drive innovation forward.
In the ever-evolving landscape of business, where unforeseen challenges are an inherent reality, the significance of strategic foresight and technological prowess cannot be overstated.
As you and your team contemplate the potential disruption of unexpected disasters, accounts payable (AP) automation emerges as an unsung hero, fostering not only day-to-day efficiency but playing a pivotal role in disaster recovery planning. From saving time and reducing errors to fortifying supplier relationships and ensuring remote work continuity, the benefits are tangible.
In the tapestry of business continuity planning, AP automation isn’t just a tool, it’s a narrative of transformation, adapting seamlessly to the evolving needs of businesses in an ever-changing world.
If you are interested in exploring more about AP automation – and more specifically, how IntelliChief can help – we invite you to schedule a complimentary 30-minute demo to learn more about our solution.