Shifting Gears from a Paper-Based Workflow with AP


Paper is one of the most important inventions in modern society. Because of its invention, we’ve been able to transmit information and keep it secure over generations. However, the world is changing. Paper is still valid, but its use is overbearing. The advent of the internet and digital record-keeping sounded the death-knell for paper-based systems. Yet, many departments have managed to keep hold of their paper-based systems, ignoring the tide of change slowly creeping upon them. Paper is what people know. Paper-based workflows create familiar processes that people can navigate. Unfortunately, they are not sustainable, nor are they efficient.

The Changing Face of Accounts Payable

Early adopters of paperless AP systems have taken the first step towards making their businesses greener. By relying on digital invoicing, there is less paper needed. The Houston Chronicle notes that digital systems tend to lower business operating costs. The real push for a paperless system for AP processing came from a need for a better search and filing system. If your business has ever been audited, you’ll likely realize how much time and effort you need to track down the correct invoice or payment acknowledgment. By storing and categorizing these documents digitally, the business could save on storage space and have a more efficient search system. This development began in the 90s, but even today, some companies have an entirely paper-based AP department. They haven’t missed the bus altogether, however.

Cloud-Based Processing

The next step from digital invoice storage is to having them remotely accessible. The recent global crisis has seen many AP departments start working from home. There are obvious issues with having data secured on employees’ home PCs. The company has no security framework there, so any data on those employees’ machines were readily available to malicious users with the right know-how. IT departments worked around this by utilizing cloud-based storage for AP data. Security Boulevard mentions that cloud resources combined with VPN security make for a much safer work-from-home arrangement for company data.

Modern AP systems offer their clients the ability to store their data on a cloud server with total security. Aside from that, they also provide cloud-based processing. Using the combined model means that no data needs to be on the employee’s system. They are wholly contained within the cloud, allowing the business to maintain its data integrity even though it’s accessed remotely by an employee.

Automation Completes the Process

Despite the lack of paper in cloud processing, there are still distinct issues in quickly and efficiently dealing with accounts payable. Paperless starts the process, but automation completes it. With a completely paperless system, the workflow becomes simplified. An intelligent AP automation system will receive invoices, automatically check them, and send them to the requisite department. If there’s an error in processing, an employee can quickly figure out what’s wrong and make necessary changes before reloading the information. Automation reduces errors in data entry since no humans are involved in the process. It happens much faster than a paper-based system, as there’s no physical form to walk to each department. The result is a more efficient and accurate system. Even audits aren’t as much of a headache as they were in a paper-based system. All the data is at your fingertips, stored securely on the cloud.

Taking Business Automation To a New Level

Is AP automation worth it? The figures tell a stark story. Businesses could spend hundreds of dollars per employee on resources for a paper-based system. Paperless processing removes that cost, but there’s still the unseen liability of slow processing. In a fast-paced business environment, slow processing could mean unhappy vendors and clients. Automation promises to solve those problems by streamlining how AP processing takes place. With the right arrangement, a business could make their AP department far more efficient while spending less on overhead every month. If you’re interested in exploring AP automation for your business, contact Arista Consulting today. Let’s give you a hand in getting your business’s AP department automated with the cutting edge of technology.

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