Process 500+ Invoices a Month? Here Are the Must Haves for Invoice Automation
September 28, 2022
4 min read
Invoice processing automation has become a must-needed tool to run an efficient and lean accounting department. It can free up AP teams from hours of manual tasks – data entry, correcting errors, and tracking down approvers.
But, for companies that receive at least 500 invoices a month, electronifying the invoice process involves more than routing invoices from approver A to approver B.
For these companies, the right AP automation software should:
- Support a wide range of invoice approval workflows
- Generate reports on everything invoice related
- Help protect against invoice fraud
- Provide invoice status online for everyone
Support a Wide Range of Workflows
Most AP automation solutions can offer straight-forward invoice approval workflows based on invoice amount, GL code, and property. But not all let you configure accounts payable workflows triggered by a broad range of data elements.
Nexus, for example, can let you establish rules that automatically route invoices based on their:
- GL Category
- MTD Budget Comparison
- YTD Budget Comparison
- Yearly Budget Comparison
- Specific Vendor
- Contract Code
- Job Code
So, for example, you can have an approval workflow that sends all over-budget invoices – for specific job codes – to the manager that knows the job or project the best, instead of just a general AP manager.
Or, you could also have a workflow that automatically routes invoices from specific vendors to specific stakeholders, bypassing “the normal” approvers when a supplier needs early payment.
Having this type of workflow flexibility is critical for companies with 500 invoices or more a month because they often have a wide range of construction projects and approvers. And they need their workflows to be adaptable to the demands of the business.
Generate Reports to Track Invoice Actuals, Bottlenecks, and Other Key Information for Stakeholders
One of the benefits of invoice processing automation – for companies with a sizable number of invoices a month – is the wealth of real-time and actionable data it can provide. With just a few clicks, you can pull up reports showing where your business stands – and not have to collate the data by hand. This can save hours and even days per month.
Here are some important reports you’ll want to be able to access:
- Budget summary report – most invoice processing tools can pull in your budget information from your general ledger, and show how your invoices (expenses) are comparing against it. This can help you ensure you’re not trending in the wrong direction.
- Invoice days outstanding report – see a complete list of “in-process” invoices and the number of days they’ve been in the system. With this data, you can quickly establish if invoices are being held up and address those specific bottlenecks.
- Bulk invoices and images report – batch together a group of related invoices – and their images – into a single .pdf that you can share easily with lenders, tenants, etc.
Protect Against Invoice Fraud
When AP teams have decentralized paper processes, they’re vulnerable to fraud because there are so many places – and invoices – fraudsters can seize and attack.
With invoice processing automation, however, all invoices travel through centralized AP software, giving everyone – from property managers to CFOs – complete visibility into every step of the invoice lifecycle.
There are also audit logs and reporting. Invoices have a complete digital audit trail, showing who approved them and when. Invoice approval workflows are also visible, as well as whether they have been changed (and by whom). Many systems, like Nexus, will also alert you about duplicate invoices.
Provide Invoice Status Online for Everyone
If you’re processing 500+ invoices a month, chances are there are lots of other employees and suppliers who want to keep abreast of their status. And if they’re all calling your AP team to find this out, it can eat up a lot of time.
Your AP automation solution should reduce these inquiries by providing stakeholders with 24/7 online access to invoice status. Everyone – from ap teams to suppliers – will appreciate the ability to self-serve, eliminate manual processes for themselves, and stay in-the-know.
Invoice Processing Automation Is More than Just Managing Invoices
If you select the right AP automation tool, it’s going to help you do more than process your large volume of invoices more quickly. It can help you provide stakeholders with full visibility into KPIs, track and control costs, and mitigate fraud. And these benefits will have effects far beyond the AP department.