All Things Accounts Payable Automation

By maximizing or combining enterprise software and technology investments, Accounts Payable and Finance departments can effectively eliminate manual data entry and processing for invoices – significantly reducing costs and delays to get vendors paid faster. Join Senior Solutions Architect Alex Lindsey and Consultant Sean LaBonte to learn more about which products you can use to automation your invoice processing workflows.

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Transcript

Alex Lindsey:

Hello everyone, and welcome to another Webinar Wednesday with RPI Consultants. Today we’re going to be talking about accounts payable automation for invoice processing and how it could potentially help your solution. And really this is very informational, we’re trying to dig a little bit deeper into what it is. We talk about it quite a bit here at RPI with a lot of our materials and our webinars, but this really digs into how we can automate certain key aspects or all of your invoice processing.

A few housekeeping items to get started. First and foremost, this presentation will be recorded. We’ll be posting this online as well for you to view at a later time or to share if you’d like. The PowerPoint deck will also be distributed. If you have any ideas for future webinars we’d be happy to hear those, and we’ll have an opportunity for questions at the very end, so if you have those go ahead and put those in the GoToWebinar questions box that’s right there so we can get those queued up.

So first and foremost, we do have a few other upcoming webinars. Next month we are only having one due to the holiday week, and we’re going to be talking about what’s new in Perceptive Content / ImageNow, whatever you guys would like to call it, 7.3. And then the month following we’ll be talking all about robots, robotic process automation, RPA, one for accounts payable and then some tips and tricks with our very own Geoff Lilienfeld.

Sean LaBonte:

Right. First off, I’d like to introduce Alex Lindsey. He’s a senior solutions architect with RPI, has many years’ experience designing, implementing, and supporting ECM and advanced data capture solutions, specializes in accounts payable integration, some non-standard solution designs, and OCR. He’s also a master whiskey distiller, seriously, it’s delicious, he’s a novice ax thrower, I don’t know how you’re still a novice after all these years, but…and also, he’s a nerdy dad, loves BioShock.

Alex Lindsey:

He’s a consultant. He has over two years’ experience designing, implementing, and supporting solutions from Hyland, Infor, and Kofax. He specializes in project management, that was actually how he came up through the ranks. He works in accounts payable automation solutions as well, and he is a CAPA certified, certified accounts payable associate. And he’s Kansas City’s second most eligible bachelor.

Sean LaBonte:

Yeah, I’m coming for you Travis Kelce.

Alex Lindsey:

So, going over the agenda today, we’re going to talk a little bit about RPI Consultants, who we are, what we do, and then we’ll jump into the overview of just how we would automate accounts payable processing. So that goes through invoice capture, the intelligent data capture, which we’ll explain in a lot more detail, workflow exception handling, approvals, how we integrate and get that payment information into your accounting system, as well as the reporting analytics that happen on the backend.

We’ll also have an opportunity to discuss some additional automation opportunities, so you may say, we have something in place now, but maybe we want to automate some other pieces, and then we’ll open it up for questions.

Sean LaBonte:

Right. So first a little bit about us, RPI Consultants. So, we’re a professional services provider and software reseller for the industry’s leading enterprise content management and business process automation technologies, including Infor Lawson, Kofax, and Hyland Software. Now is a pretty exciting time to be working for RPI, we have over 100 full-time consultants and project managers and architects across multiple locations in the US, on the East Coast and Midwest. We offer services as far as technical strategy, upgrades, migrations, system design, managed services, and we have project management and change management to help oversee all these tasks all the way through to delivery.

Alex Lindsey:

So, jumping right into accounts payable automation, what is it, how can it help you. Accounts payable automation, and we say this, again, like I mentioned earlier, we say this term all the time, this is how you can automate your invoice processing solutions. So, we’ll go over a number of different things from each key area that we can automate a lot of these processes within your accounts payable team, show you a lot of different ways that you could automate those, discuss different options. We’ll touch on maybe some of the softwares, but that’s not really the point of this presentation. The point of the presentation is to make you understand or to help you understand how you can really reduce the time it takes to pay your vendor invoices.

So why would you adopt something like an AP automation solution with the software you have or the software that you are currently exploring? First and foremost, it reduces costs. You will be able to process invoices faster, it sometimes requires less overhead, you can really take advantage of those early payment discounts and rebates and really just avoid those late payment fees.

It also reduces errors. If your users are currently just manually entering in the invoice data into an SAP or an ERP or something like that it takes a lot of time. There’s a lot that goes with it, if you have paper invoices versus emailed, if they’re PO versus Non-PO, and that ultimately can lead to a lot of errors and a lot of delays, which sometimes is no fault of their own, it’s just the nature of the beast.

Sean LaBonte:

Right. So, we’ve got the why down, let’s start looking into the first step of getting documents actually into your system. There’s a handful of different options here and one of them might be physical invoices, so you’re receiving invoices via mail, you’re having your clerks open them in the mail room and sorting them out, ready for them to be scanned into your system. Once you scan in these invoices you’re delivering them to a network drive typically and you need to have them imported, this can be either a manual task or it can be another point of automation, which we’re going to cover here today.

Alex Lindsey:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sean LaBonte:

There’s also an option for emailing invoices in, this can be sending invoices directly to just one dedicated inbox or several depending on the type of invoice that you’re going to be receiving, and then trying to get them into your system, which, again, can be another point of automation. You can also be receiving faxed invoices, if you are, please stop, but it’s…faxed invoices, they’re going to be coming into a dedicated line, they’re going to be captured electronically or imported, sometimes I’ve even seen people start printing them out and then scanning them in too, going to the network share.

There’s also EDI, so this is the Electronic Data Interchange. So, this is going to require a dedicated setup, you might have something set up with that specific, like GHX, and try to import those eight, 10 files into your system.

Alex Lindsey:

So, one other thing to talk about with the invoice capture too, a lot of the softwares that we work with already have ways to capture documents through email, what we really like to recommend to clients is that you get to an automated process. Start training your vendors to send just invoice documents to one particular inbox so when you deploy a solution like this you can really kind of streamline the flow, have one entry point for just invoice documents as opposed to AP correspondences, vendor documents, things like that. This is what we highly encourage our clients to do is to kind of move in that space so you can really set yourself up for success.

Sean LaBonte:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Right, so speaking of capture, you need to start…once you have the documents into your system you need to start extracting values and data off of those documents. We work through a bunch of different products, primarily looking at Kofax KTA, ReadSoft Online, and Brainware by Hyland to start reading and sorting and understanding what is on these documents. So let’s talk about how we’re going to replace manual data entry with some key points of automation, just at a high level.

First off, when you start receiving documents, invoices, into your system, previously in a manual task you might have a clerk sorting out these documents into different types of invoices, that’s really what we’re pointing to right here, invoice classification. You can actually have a system start to do this for you so you can relieve that duty from one of your employees or clerks.

Once you start getting these invoices in, you know what type it is, you can start indexing values off of it, start removing some of the header-level data from the invoice itself, which is going to start opening up more opportunities for you to start