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Automated Forms Processing for Accounts Payable

invoice processing

Effective, efficient accounts payable (AP) processes are critical to business success. But as noted by the Enterprise Times, many enterprises take an almost fatalistic approach to forms processing, capture, and invoicing. Costs and complexity are often considered inevitable rather than adjustable, while best practices are often predicated on past problems instead of emerging AP solutions.

The good news? Automated, intelligent forms capture technology offers the skills to pay the bills and make life easier for staff and C-Suites alike. Here’s how.

Managing Manual Malfunctions

Despite the increasing availability of automated, data-driven AP solutions, many companies still do it the way they’ve always done, manually. In fact, 54 percent of businesses surveyed said staff enter all invoice details manually. The problem? Human error. 

With so much data to capture — from payable amounts to invoice, order, and account numbers — even a small mistake is costly for your organization. You could end up paying twice for an order, missing payments, or paying the wrong supplier, which is especially problematic for small businesses with little room for revenue error or larger companies leveraging capital to expand across new markets.

Automated forms capture tools make it possible to manage these manual malfunctions. Advanced AI can identify key invoice fields and capture their data, while superior optical character recognition (OCR) ensures smooth transitions between manually-completed and digital forms. Finally, intelligent algorithms examine staff corrections to “learn” your best practices over time and increase form accuracy. 

Defeating the Documents Deluge

As noted by Business 2 Community, even a single purchase often requires 2-7 paper documents. Multiply that out over thousands of purchases per month across hundreds of vendors and it’s easy to see why many organizations are drowning in physical data — even as they attempt to integrate digital processes.

Here, centralized forms capture can both streamline document collection and ensure your team always has access to the invoices and accounting documents they need on-demand. By leveraging toolkits with support for thousands of invoice formats and the ability to load, save, and manipulate data from inside existing corporate applications, the digital transformation process becomes less daunting — and the deluge of documents less overwhelming.

Replacing Pernicious Processes

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. That’s good advice, under the right circumstances. But as a recent Deloitte white paper points out, many companies lack the AP processes necessary to prevent late payments and avoid under, over, or duplicate payments. Existing practices may “get the job done,” but also leave AP staff running after paper payment trails or redoing invoice work because critical information was missing or incomplete. This means wasted time for your employees and wasted money from your budget.

Replacing these pernicious and profit-killing processes starts by leveraging SDKs capable of deployment across .NET, C#, or .NET Core, allowing companies to capture and securely route invoice data into their own content repositories. This paves the way for application-driven, accurate, and automated forms capture. 

New invoices are analyzed using OCR, relevant form fields are accurately captured, and documents are easily edited. This results in processes that align with emerging expectations but don’t break the bank. The right skills can reduce your bills by eliminating human error, centralizing documentation and improving AP processes — all from inside your own application.