How Accounts Payable Automation Can Boost Employee Happiness at Your Organization

Danny Schaarmann, CEO and President, xSuite North America Inc.
Danny Schaarmann, CEO and President,  <a href='https://www.cioreview.com/xsuite-group' rel='nofollow' target='_blank' style='color:blue !important'>xSuite North America Inc.</a>

Danny Schaarmann, CEO and President, xSuite North America Inc.

Accounts payable automation. While it was once considered cutting-edge technology, there are now more and more organizations applying at least some form of automation to their finance processes. Increased efficiency, better scalability, and improved flexibility are frequently mentioned when considering the benefits provided by AP automation. But what often gets overlooked is a factor that will impact your organization far beyond its finance department: employee happiness. Prepare for a deep dive into the topic and learn how automation technology can help increase employee happiness in the long run.

Common Challenges in Accounts Payable Departments

The accounts payable department functions as an internal service provider and is responsible for all the tasks relevant to paying incoming supplier invoices. Typical jobs of an AP clerk include receiving invoices, capturing data and transferring it into the ERP system, matching invoices to purchase orders, authorizing and executing payments, and taking care of supplier inquiries.

When an organization manages its accounting tasks with little to no automation technology, the process from receiving an invoice to paying it can easily take up to several weeks. Research shows that the average invoice throughput time across all industries amounts to 25 days. But the high amount of manual work has further drawbacks: AP clerks typically perform the same task over and over again. This repetitiveness naturally leads to mistakes and consequently to incorrect data being stored in the ERP system. In addition, the lack of variety in the daily work routine might trigger boredom and dissatisfaction on the part of employees.

We Believe in Empowering People and Contributing to a Positive Work Experience

As a software manufacturer for document-based processes in general and accounts payable automation in particular, we specialize in digitizing and automating the processing of incoming invoices.

We support over 1,200 customers worldwide with a wide range of processes, from documents entering the company’s system to releasing payments and storing information in digital archives. When our clients receive an invoice or an employee creates a purchase requisition, our SAP-integrated software solutions automatically convert relevant data into usable vectors, trigger the verification task, and route information to SAP.

 ​By increasing transparency and visibility, AP automation improves both internal and external communication. 

Our intelligent solutions also initiate automated approval and release workflows for incoming documents. This is possible with our state-of-the-art document extraction tools, high recognition capabilities, and easily changeable rule sets. Our solutions also store document images via SAP ArchiveLink, thereby ensuring compliance and security.

We eliminate the burden of manual data entry by using intelligent components such as OCR capturing. It is our goal to reduce as many manual aspects of work as possible and minimize labor-intensive tasks through machine learning and other such technologies.

How Does AP Automation Increase Employee Happiness?

Less Pressure due to Reduced Risk of Human Error

When software manages repetitive tasks such as transferring invoice data into the SAP system, employees have significantly less manual work. Instead of typing information into data fields in SAP, they only need to check that the transferred data is correct. If it is not, they manually replace the erroneous with the correct value. This minimizes the risk of clerical errors and relieves staff of the pressure to avoid mistakes. By taking this weight off employees’ shoulders, automation reduces overall stress in the AP department in the long run and leads to a more positive work environment.

Improved Internal and External Communication

Our end-to-end AP automation solution documents the entire invoice processing workflow digitally. This increases transparency for all involved employees and allows them to check the status of any invoice at any given moment. Employees become more self-sufficient and are no longer dependent on others to search for and pass along information. The software also automatically sends reminders to employees when a task such as approving an invoice is overdue. This significantly improves communication both within the AP team and with other departments.

In addition, communication with vendors and external partners is enhanced because employees can respond more quickly to inquiries from suppliers and provide real-time information on when a specific invoice will be paid.

More Meaningful Tasks

AP automation software reduces the time required for invoice processing by 50 to 70 percent. It frees up time and resources and allows employees to focus on more value-adding activities such as working on improving vendor relationships. Back in the day, employees had to physically search for an invoice throughout the company to answer a supplier inquiry. With automation, they only need to type in the document number and can find out the whereabouts and payment status of the invoice with one click.

Another strategic task that often gets overlooked when staff is overwhelmed with manual invoice handling is that of optimizing performance. Supported by an automation solution, AP clerks can concentrate on measuring KPIs such as the percentage of invoices paid on time or the average throughput time, and establish internal reports with the goal of optimizing those KPIs in the long run. 

Automation Makes the AP Department a Happier Place

Automation technology impacts the work life of AP staff in several ways. It minimizes the manual workload and enables employees to take on those tasks they enjoy the most. In addition, by increasing transparency and visibility, AP automation improves both internal and external communication.

As a result, the positive impact of automation on your staff’s motivation and happiness is not only limited to your AP team but expands beyond its borders to all of your employees.