xSuite Blog

Expert Knowledge on Digitalization & Automation of Business Processes

xSuite Blog

Expert Knowledge on Digitalization & Automation of Business Processes

Streamline Your Accounts Payable Processes: Key Takeaways from the SAPinsider Report on Automating AP Invoice Management

Topic: AP Automation | Invoice | SAP

Blog: Streamlining Your Accounts Payable Processes

Accounts payable (AP) teams are under increasing pressure to efficiently manage invoices and payments amid market uncertainty and evolving regulations. Relying on manual methods or legacy systems often results in limited visibility, compliance issues, and vulnerability to fraud. To overcome these challenges, organizations need strategies to optimize and automate how they process incoming vendor invoices.

The new SAPinsider benchmark report, "Automating AP Invoice Management", examines how organizations are approaching these issues and provides finance executives with data-driven insights into:

  • The drivers shaping AP invoice automation strategies

  • Requirements and technologies to support automation

  • Risks of not automating AP processes

Here are five key takeaways from the report:

Leverage intelligent technologies to reduce manual workload

With manual AP processes, invoices received by mail, email, EDI, or other channels are printed, reviewed, coded, matched to a PO, approved, and entered manually into the accounting system by AP staff. This tedious process introduces errors and delays at every step. Most survey respondents said it currently takes over two weeks to process an incoming invoice, which strains both supplier relationships and cash flow. OCR automation capabilities digitize unstructured invoices and reduce manual data entry. You can further optimize workflows by building on intelligent technologies like AI and machine learning. This enforces consistency and frees up employees’ time so they can focus on value-creating tasks.

Standardize and integrate processes across your systems and locations

42% of respondents aim to standardize their AP workflows to enhance management. When workflows vary across business units and geographies, it creates inefficiencies and blind spots. By standardizing and automating processes on a unified digital platform, you break down silos and bottlenecks. With a consolidated data set and dashboard, you gain increased transparency and agility to adjust AP strategies quickly.

Connect automation solutions to your ERP with SAP BTP for real-time data

To get optimal value from intelligent AP automation, it needs to interact seamlessly with third-party solutions to your SAP system while keeping the core clean of any custom code. Real-time visibility of harmonized data from purchases, invoices, and payments in turn enables faster, data-driven decisions.

Adopt e-invoicing to improve compliance and cash flow

Despite the prevalence of e-invoicing today, most organizations still receive high volumes of paper invoices. A third of respondents cited that this leads to compliance issues in their AP processes. E-invoicing solutions help meet complex global regulations and guidelines efficiently. In addition, faster processing thanks to automated workflows also improves cash flow by enabling companies to capture early payment discounts.

Mitigate fraud risks with digitized, automated AP processes

Alarmingly, 51% of respondents saw over 5 invoice fraud attempts annually, pointing to major vulnerabilities with manual AP processes. Digitizing the invoicing process limits the risks, while features like 3-way match and analytics provide oversight of transactions to identify discrepancies. The enhanced control and visibility from AP automation is key to fraud prevention.

In summary, delaying the transition to e-invoicing and AP automation puts organizations at a competitive disadvantage. Leading companies are able to optimize cash flow, reduce costs, improve productivity and strengthen supplier relationships—leaving behind those still mired in paper and manual processes.

Want to learn more? Download the "Automating AP Invoice Management" research report for benchmarks, best practices and expert advice on developing a streamlined, digital AP process. The move to touchless invoice processing is approaching. Take the necessary steps now to ensure your organization leads the way.



Katharina Sartiano is International Marketing Manager at xSuite Group. Her strong affinity for foreign languages and cultures motivated her to live abroad for several years. Through previous positions, Katharina has acquired expert knowledge in the fields of international and digital marketing.

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