Automated Invoice Processing: What it is and Why You Should Make the Switch Today

By Linda RoperFebruary 21, 2022

In the early phases of a business, manually processing invoices is manageable. However, once you begin to scale, spreadsheets and other manual procedures just aren’t practicable in the long term.

Manual procedures may create complications such as lost invoices, late payments, and even incidents of fraud, all of which can damage your bottom line and tarnish your relationships with your vendors.

Woman calculates an invoice while sitting on her desk

So, how can you improve your invoice management and avoid costly mistakes? And how can you enhance transparency across the accounts payable process?

The answer lies in automated invoice processing. We’ll reveal everything you need to know about it in this helpful guide, including what it is and why you should make the switch to an automated invoice processing system today.

Table of Contents

What is Automated Invoice Processing?

Automated invoice processing is the use of software to seamlessly process invoices for accounts payable (AP) and update the information in your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. In short, an automated invoice processing system utilises an automatic workflow and allows an invoice to be paid in just a few simple clicks. Therefore, it aids with accelerating invoice approvals, reducing mistakes, and decreasing processing costs.

ExpenseIn’s automated invoice processing system is one such example. It allows companies to stay in control of their supplier spend and automatically capture, process, and approve supplier invoices from anywhere, and at any time.

Just like word processing software, many businesses now consider a paperless invoice approval system to be an absolute essential—regardless of what industry they work in.

Why Should You Consider Automated Invoice Processing Software?

Before we demonstrate the numerous benefits of automatic invoice processing, we must first delve into the traditional—or manual—invoice processing method.

The accounts payable process generally includes the following steps to prevent fraud and keep accurate records:

  1. Invoices must be matched to a purchase order (PO)

  2. Identifying and resolving any inconsistencies, such as mismatched PO numbers, incorrect line items, and more

  3. Invoices are sent to a manager or senior executive for approval

  4. Updating the business’s ERP system

  5. Submitting vendor payments

Depending on the business, the manual invoicing process can sometimes take up to 15 separate steps. This takes up a significant amount of time; especially when dealing with multiple invoices.

The steps listed above are fairly conventional procedures. When they’re done manually, however, AP departments are unable to maintain an effective invoicing procedure. As a result, approval timeframes are extended, and processing-related costs are increased.

According to studies, organisations that use manual processes take 45 days to process an invoice, but those that use automated workflows do so in only five days—presenting an improvement of almost 90%.

Additional benefits of a paperless invoice approval system include:

  • Error rates are reduced: Less manual entry equals less opportunities for error

  • Reduced labour expenses: Employees can focus on more operation duties

  • A reduction of the number of duplicate invoices and payments

  • Relationships are improved: Employees are freed from time-consuming chores, while vendors benefit from a more transparent procedure

  • Reduced expenses associated with manually processing invoices, such as postage, paper, etc.

  • Better for obtaining early-payment discounts and avoiding making late payments

How ExpenseIn’s Invoice Processing Software Can Help You

ExpenseIn’s invoice approval workflow software has a number of beneficial features which greatly assist your company with its invoice processing. These include:

  • Real-time scanning, which instantly retrieves all of the important information from your supplier invoices automatically

  • Advanced approval, which involves fully customisable, multi-level approval flows including out-of-office functionalities

  • Purchase requests, which let you assign purchase requests and pre-approve spending before the transaction occurs

  • Categorisation and coding, where ExpenseIn has your invoice process covered with full support for standard and custom coding structures

  • Supplier policies, which let you automate approval configurations and routings for each individual supplier to speed up approvals

  • Smart reporting, which enables you to access and utilise real-time invoice reports to stay in control of your spend and make smarter financial decisions.

Upload multiple invoices directly via the ExpenseIn app or simply forward your invoices via email and leave the typing to us. You can even integrate ExpenseIn with your favourite tools, such as Xero, QuickBooks, Sage, and Microsoft Business, to streamline your supplier invoice processes.