Even amidst a global pandemic, a ‘green’ strategy that benefits community, the environment and employee wellbeing are a solemn corporate commitment. At such challenging times commercially, finding a cost-efficient way to live up to that commitment is not easy. But through efficient AP invoice automation, Finance Teams can become that bit leaner and greener.

Corporate sustainability remains an important part of the modern company’s goals. But traditional accounts payable processes do little to advance them, involving procedures that have lost their efficiency with the gradual arrival of electronic technologies.

But exactly how can an accounts payable automation solution, such as those provided by BPMS help companies to meet their environmental responsibilities and achieve the sustainability goals that they have set?

These ‘Legacy’ AP processes are labour and time intensive, as well as costly. Even when invoices are received via email, they must be printed out, then manually stamped and coded and hand delivered. Invoice copies can be lost and even when those invoices are delivered on time, approval can only be signed off when the designated approver is in the office.

Document storage is another problem, with often large floor space allocated to multiple filing cabinets, thus taking up valuable office space, increasing office rental costs and necessitating a managed filing system.

How AP Automation Has Changed the AP Environment

Figures can vary between companies, but the AP process can play a significant role in achieving sustainability goals. Research has shown an Accounts Payable team can use more than 200,000 sheets of paper per year, which works out as more than 400 trees.

What is more, the cost of running that printer for the year, including paper and ink, can reach as much as £7,500.

Operational issues, such as those relating to processing, GDPR compliance, finding time to complete necessary data analysis or staff development, are also impacted. In fact, in many companies Accounts Payable is viewed as something of a bottleneck threatening overall operational efficiency.

However, through the benefits offered via AP automation, the bottleneck can be cleared and a more efficiency ‘greener’ process can be achieved.

  1. Improves Visibility & Control

The Legacy AP Process omits documents that cannot be seen, which can be misleading. The ‘unseen’ documents could be invoices not yet printed out, are still in a folder and not yet submitted, or have simply gone missing. But in an automated AP process, all documents are accounted for, are tracked throughout the process and can be easily retrieved.

  1. Boosts GDPR Compliance

Paper-based processes involve leaving documents on employee desks. But this leaves them exposed to viewing from third parties, which is in contravention of GDPR. Keeping sensitive data private is key and an automated AP system provides that.

  1. Improving Supplier Relationships

When the AP system is slow and susceptible to delays, relationships can suffer between a company and its suppliers. But with those delays minimised, the relationship is instead strengthened. This not just keeps existing business going well but boosts growth and scalability strategies in the future too.

  1. Frees Up Time

AP teams experience a lifting of weight from their shoulders thanks to an automated AP system that does most of the work. Invoice scanning, which would normally take up hours of work every week, is now done automatically. Data entry is also reduced significantly.

  1. Accessibility

In the current working world, with lockdown keeping many working from home, the ability of team members to get access to invoices from anywhere has meant processes have not be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Invoices can still be processed and approved as usual, keeping operations moving as close to normal as possible.

How we operate business and its impact upon the Planet is likely to come in for greater and greater scrutiny in the years ahead and to this extent we all retain a responsibility to ensure we are doing all we can to sustain and improve things for future generations.

If you do not believe you are doing all you can and would like to change this whilst delivering greater efficiency to your existing working practises, why not get in touch with one of our specialist team who will be delighted to help you get things moving in the right direction, for you, your business, and the Planet.

If you would like to talk to a BPMS team member and learn more about Accounts Payable Automation technology click here.