Actionable insights from two companies that transformed accounts payable invoice processing
London, UK. 11th June 2020. According to a recent report from Forrester Research, 60 percent of companies surveyed were still working with paper invoices each month. This percentage was too high when organisations were struggling to keep up with business demands in a market facing constantly shifting demands for faster service and increased access to real-time information.
And now, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing companies globally to shift to a 100 percent work from home model, accounts payable departments are struggling to maintain a fluid, business-as-usual approach to managing their invoice processes in a time and cost-effective manner.
As stressors on businesses continue to stack up and compound, taking time to pause and explore resources and technology that can boost productivity and provide proven ROI could be a solid strategic move. Kofax has collected data from customers that have automated accounts payable invoice processing and documented their stories in case studies. Let’s explore their strategies, results and how a similar approach could be helpful now and in the future.
Invoices as a source of business intelligence
Many organisations can probably relate to challenges that led to the adoption of an AP automation solution at Koppens Developments. Business Solutions Manager Jarrad Koppen explains, “We currently process up to 14,000 invoices every year and have a team of three people handling it all. In the past, our staff relied on largely manual methods to manage invoice processing. As we grew, we recognised that that approach was quickly becoming unsustainable. Turnaround times were slower than we would like, putting us at risk of failing to pay suppliers on time. What’s more, the sheer volume of work made it challenging for us to gain fine-grained insight into costs and payments; insight that we need to ensure that we do not overrun our budget for a given project.”
The Australian construction firm now has automated end-to-end invoice processing and cut its time to process a single invoice from one hour or more to just three minutes. “Faster invoicing makes it possible to take on more work in AP without increasing headcount, helping us grow the business in a profitable way,” adds Koppens.
But faster invoice processing is only one part of the Koppens story. Project Manager Martin Wojcicki explains, “With Kofax TotalAgility our team can capture much richer detail from invoices, right down to line item level, which is something they simply could not do in the past. We use this invoice data in conjunction with information such as purchase orders and actuals to feed our business intelligence engine, which gives us a much more holistic view of project costs. Now that we have this insight, we can make decisions based on real evidence rather than best guesses.”
Actionable insights for today:
- Shifting from manual to automated invoice processing reduced turn-around time by 95 percent, allowing the firm to process more invoices without increasing headcount.
- Using invoices as a source of business intelligence gives Koppens the ability to make better decisions and keep tighter controls on project costs.
A mobile, lean AP workforce
If accounts payable processes have required human involvement at every step, then high-tech optics manufacturer Meopta is relatable. With invoice volumes at 40,000 per year, the company decided accounts payable was an ideal focus area for automation. Meopta CIO Radim Klasek says, “In the past, processing invoices was a complex process that required human involvement at every stage. When we received a paper invoice, a member of our AP team would re-key the data into our ERP system, and then mail a physical copy of the invoice to the relevant managers for review and approval. Finally, the managers would mail the approved invoice back to our AP team, who would pay it and archive the paper copy.”
Meopta worked with Kofax platinum-level partner INFOMATIC to transform its AP processes with intelligent automation. “We targeted a solution that could grow with our automation ambitions, and the INFOMATIC solution based on Kofax TotalAgility met that requirement perfectly,” says Radim Klasek. “Not only does Kofax TotalAgility deliver the capabilities we need to digitize our AP workflows, it also enables robotic process automation (RPA)—opening the door to a wide range of use cases in the future.”
According to Klasek, managers can now review and approve invoices from their desktop computers or mobile devices. The manufacturing company has improved invoice cycle times by 50 percent, increased visibility into processes and avoided the need to hire additional headcount which would have driven AP costs 30 percent higher. “In the long term, our goal is to move more processes from paper to digital systems, and that’s exactly what our work with INFOMATIC will help us to achieve,” concludes Radim Klasek. “With intelligent automation from Kofax, we’re well on the way to becoming a lean, future-facing enterprise.”
Actionable insights for today:
- Infusing invoice processing with intelligent automation cut processing times by 50 percent, helping Meopta avoid late payment fees.
- The ability to view, comment on and approve invoices from anywhere ensures that staff are set up to work wherever, whenever.
- Processing more invoices with the same headcount is helping the construction company optimize performance, while staying lean.
In both instances, these companies put accounts payable automation technology to use before the global pandemic took hold. With current events raising the stakes on controlling costs, as well as making the most of your workforce and optimising processes, having the right solution in place is paramount.
What should companies look for in an accounts payable automation solution? The technology vendor they choose should offer remote, secure, and ubiquitous access to the information and tools that let their organisation maintain business as usual.
The solution should allow companies to automatically:
- Scan and capture invoices
- Match and verify invoices
- Manage invoice workflow
- Generate purchase orders
- Flag potential duplicates and fraud
- Code invoices based on the general ledger
- Approve invoices
- Push information into any ERP for payment
- Analyze results and create reports
With the right processes supported by the right technology, accounts payable teams can improve their performance – opening the door to faster processing, better insights and lower costs. Taking the time now to choose a proven partner for invoice automation technology could be a business-sustaining choice. Because working like tomorrow has never been more important or more meaningful.
Kofax enables organisations to Work Like Tomorrow™—today. Kofax’s Intelligent Automation software platform helps organisations transform information-intensive business processes, reduce manual work and errors, minimise costs, and improve customer engagement. We combine RPA, cognitive capture, process orchestration, mobility and engagement, and analytics to ease implementations and deliver dramatic results that mitigate compliance risk and increase competitiveness, growth and profitability. For more information, visit kofax.com.
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Nicola Males/Vidushi Patel