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E-invoicing is good. But e-invoicing paired with AP automation is better

You’ve likely heard the term “e-invoicing” bantered about as the panacea to all life’s problems — or at least account payables’.

And while it’s true that e-invoicing has its merits, the full value of its advanced features and efficiencies cannot be realized without the added power of accounts payable automation. To maximize the e-invoicing’s benefits and reach your full savings potential, e-invoicing and AP automation must be combined.

The truth about e-invoicing

Manual invoice processing wastes time and money and can cause unlimited frustration. On its own, e-invoicing is a vast improvement over manual processing, delivering far better data quality and quick, secure invoice delivery, saving your finance department time and money.

But e-invoicing is really only the first step of the accounts payable automation journey. Basically, E-invoicing means you stop receiving paper invoices, but e-invoicing can’t ensure all data on the invoice is correct. If you can’t verify the data on the invoice is accurate, you can’t have automatic processing of invoices.

Streamlining the process

Ensuring that data between suppliers and buyers is synchronized is an expensive task, typically reserved for only high-volume suppliers. As a result, discrepancies between invoices and customers’ ERP environments are often the norm.

In order to automate the processing of invoices with errors or exceptions, you need an accounts payable automation solution that can handle all incoming data, regardless of whether the data is correct.

AP automation solution requirements

Not all AP automation solutions are created equally. The best should include:

  • Automatic data correction and invoice processing
  • A fast and easy way for AP staff to perform manual correction when required
  • Robust workflow that can achieve and maintain low cycle times
  • A communication channel for the customer and supplier (i.e. a supplier portal)
  • Ability to handle incoming invoices from different channels (however, a real electronic invoice with structured data is the best inbound path)
  • Analytics to monitor the success of your solution

E-invoicing without AP automation is insufficient

Implementing e-invoicing without AP automation limits your potential savings. Why? Because while e-invoicing changes the delivery method of the invoice, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee the information on the invoice is correct. It is only when e-invoicing is combined with automated invoice processing and powerful exception handling that maximum savings are achieved.

Only by integrating e-invoicing with an AP automation solution can you streamline workflow from start to finish.

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