Accounts Payable Process More Efficient and
Less Costly with Document Management

The costs of processing just one paper invoice averages somewhere around $8 – $10. Between the copying, paper shuffling between departments for approvals, and low visibility into processes, it’s no wonder the accounts payable process is that expensive.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, the most efficient AP departments process invoices electronically for less than $2 per invoice.

When you look around and see stacks of paper, that reality might seem a long way off. However, AP departments can make the transition towards electronic AP processes with document imaging and workflow.

How Documents Can Make AP Faster, Not Slower

The accounts payable process has two separate but related players – data and documents. The data is probably handled very efficiently by your ERP or accounting software. But what about the documents? In file cabinets and offsite storage space? On a network share? In someone’s email inbox or on their desk?

Documents are just as vital to your accounts payable processes, but they aren’t handled with the same care or efficiency. With OnBase, your documents can make your AP processes more efficient, not less.

Once you capture AP documents with OnBase, whether they start as paper, fax, email or EDI, they are automatically indexed with the data from your ERP or accounting software. If they’re a simple approval that meets your set requirements, they can go straight through processing. Or, if they need review, they travel directly to AP clerks. Because the invoices can be distributed by region, vendor, time zone or workload, they are sure to go to the right one.

AP staff can then send them on to the appropriate approvers. To keep the process moving without AP having to constantly bug other departments, approvers receive email updates when they have invoices to review and periodic reminders if they don’t look at them right away.

Find Documents when You Need Them to Settle Disputes and Improve Compliance

In a paper world, finding an invoice is often a lot harder than it should be. When an auditor asks for a set of documents or you need to defend a payment to a vendor, AP staff spend too much time finding the documents in question.

At the South African retail group Clicks Group, the AP department only had space to keep a year’s worth of invoices, but had compliance requirements of five years. They had a team of people dedicated just to “archive diving” for AP documents as needed, and even then they only found the needed invoice about 50 percent of the time. To solve this problem, Clicks now scans all of its invoices into OnBase and integrates them into the company’s SAP system.

“Staff access more than 99 percent of invoices electronically, almost doubling the retrieval rate,” says Paul Niemantinga, Director of Accounts Payable at Clicks.

Create One Place to Go for AP Information

Not only is it important to have invoices stored and accessed electronically, but it’s also important to have them accessible from AP staff’s most familiar screens – the ERP or accounting system. That way, the data and documents are united in one simple place. Users never have to leave the ERP and all the information they need is a click away.