Controlling, tracking and securing sensitive data is top-of-mind for many financial operations. Controllers surveyed by IOFM in 2014 identified “ensuring effective internal controls” as a top priority. What’s more, 5% of organizations see “minimizing litigation impact” as a primary driver of their accounts payable automation initiatives, according to the Association for Image and Information Management (AIIM).
The Compliance Conundrum
Manual, paper-based AP processes undermine these compliance efforts. Paper-based processes make it difficult to verify that invoices and other documents have only been reviewed or handled by the appropriate staff and tasks have been completed according to regulatory mandates. As a result, AP audit processes are costly, laborious, long, and fraught with error. Non-compliance with laws, regulations or audit guidelines, or a breach of sensitive information, can be expensive and time-consuming to remedy, and create big liabilities and a negative brand image. AP automation enables organizations to reduce their compliance burden and mitigate potential risks.
The Automation Solution
Automation enables AP departments to easily define and enforce policies and processes for who is authorized to access, edit and approve invoices and other documents. Access permissions can be easily established by individual, group, role or business unit, according to regulations and standards or internal policies. Accounts payable solutions also track all document access and revision activities. Additionally, the solutions organize, manage and track all quality and compliance-related documents, processes and tasks required for financial audits and exceptions resolution processes.
It is for these reasons that nearly 40% of organizations surveyed by AIIM in 2014 identified “better records for audit trail or litigation” as the top benefit of accounts payable automation.