For businesses and company segments that handle traditionally on-site and paper-centric processes, the stay-at-home and social distancing orders resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic posed significant challenges. Accounts payable (AP) teams, for instance, faced possibly longer turnaround times, not just in processing but also in approving invoices. Thankfully, technologies like AP automation help overcome these challenges and allow remote teams to become even more efficient than ever.
How did the pandemic impact the AP process?
Shelter-in-place orders left many courier companies operating with a skeletal workforce — if at all. Inevitably, this led to delays in the transmission of paper invoices and other crucial business documents from vendors to businesses.
Moreover, with AP team members forced to work from home and practice social distancing, essential steps in a paper-centric process, especially receiving, processing, and approving invoices, took even longer than normal. Predictably, both of these issues often resulted in missed payments and delayed revenue for vendors.
How does AP automation help?
Along with electronic payments, AP automation is one of the most important technologies for companies looking to maintain their efficiency in spite of the limitations posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the technology helps businesses in the following ways:
1. It is conducive to remote working
AP automation solutions are cloud-based. PaperSave, for instance, stores invoice data on multiple off-site servers to back up your data to protect your files from accidental loss and disasters in your locale.
But the greatest benefit of the cloud is that it lets users access stored files whenever and wherever, as long as they have an internet connection and the right login credentials. Your AP staff won’t have to go to the office to retrieve any documents they might need. With the cloud, they can work at home and still be able to finish their tasks.
2. It improves the speed and accuracy of invoice processing
Businesses are adopting different payment strategies to cope with the changes ushered by the pandemic. Some opted to settle their invoices later than they normally do, while others paid as early as possible. Whatever approach you follow, your AP team will need to be agile, flexible, and accurate to ensure the success of your strategy.
AP automation workflows reduce the need for manual invoice processing. With PaperSave, for example, you can capture data straight from your desktop screen. PaperSave’s Electronic Document Imaging technology then converts the captured data into an electronic file, which is sorted and stored within seconds. This not only speeds up the process of capturing and organizing financial data, but it also prevents errors that can lead to double payments and other costly problems.
3. It simplifies the invoice approval process
Getting your approver’s signature isn’t so simple with people working remotely. But with AP automation, you can send an e-invoice (in PDF) to your approver, which they can receive and view through their desktop or laptop computer. PaperSave takes this a step further by letting the approver approve invoices using their smartphone or tablet, as long as they have the PaperSave app on their mobile device.
4. It helps protect against fraud
If you want to settle your invoice, sending a check to your vendor may be more difficult now. It’s likely that no one will be at the office to receive it, after all. You can’t send the check to the receiver’s personal address either, as that runs the risk of fraud.
In contrast, AP automation is compatible with secure online channels that send your payment directly to your vendor’s bank account. What’s more, the technology gives you a clear view of your payables, ensuring that you know where your money goes at all times.
The coronavirus pandemic did much to complicate business processes. At PaperSave, our AP automation solution can help your business adapt by eliminating unnecessary steps in your workflow and boosting your team’s flexibility and efficiency. Learn how we can help your business power through the constraints of the pandemic by scheduling a free personalized demo today.