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25% of AP Professionals Cite Duplicate Invoices as Major Pain Point, Waste of Time

Ask any accounts payable (AP) team about the shortcomings of their legacy invoice processing methods and you’re apt to hear some variation of the theme that they’re not always well-suited for coping with the modern expectations of pace and volume.

The inefficiency of these methods, they’ll likely say, add time and inaccuracies to the processing of invoices, which in turn cause payment delays and friction with suppliers.

For example, in The Digital Shift report, PYMNTS reported that 25 percent of AP staff responding to a survey said duplicate invoices or payments create noticeable pain points in manual AP operations. Something as simple as receiving a second notice for a bill and trying to determine if it has already been paid can quickly turn into the lengthy time-eating detour.

Massively Powerful Solutions 

The good news for AP staff is that there are plenty of new technologies that can automate invoice management and accelerate and error-check processes.

In a recent interview with PYMNTS, Alexander T. Hagerup, co-founder and CEO of Vic.ai, explained that artificial intelligence (AI) solutions can facilitate data extraction and are now able to handle changes in workflow, such as a new invoice template that a supplier uses, or identify deviations in typical patterns, like if per hour costs have risen.

“That’s massively powerful when you’re talking with large enterprises with millions of invoices and tens of thousands of vendors,” Hagerup said. “AI is just so superior.”

Today, the standard level of AI in AP most often appears as a technology that can automatically “read” key documents like invoices and identify and extract important information like supplier and pricing. He added that AI has far greater opportunity in the enterprise, including AP automation.

Imran Rahman, co-founder and chief technology officer of Nexelus, noted in a recent interview with PYMNTS that when humans handle a high volume of documents, there are plenty of opportunities for spending to slip through the cracks.

Nexelus offers a solution called apworks.ai that wields AP and ML and aims to automate the process of ensuring the accuracy of invoices and appropriate routing in order to streamline workflows up until payment.

In the Digital Shift report, PYMNTS reported that 38 percent of AP professionals wanted to innovate to reduce payment errors and another 30 percent said their companies struggled to process invoices efficiently.

AP Innovations 

With findings like that, it’s unsurprising that nearly three-quarters of firms that processed more than 20,000 invoices monthly said they planned to adopt invoice receipt innovations and 70 percent of AP professionals wanted to innovate AP to save time.

PYMNTS examined how technologies can accelerate and streamline invoice processing. By tapping powerful digital offerings, businesses can improve their invoice processing and keep AP operations running smoothly and on schedule.

AP teams can employ various technologies to help modernize their invoice processing. Various AI-powered supports can help firms code and flow extracted invoice information through company systems according to firms’ policies as well as detect and send alerts when instances of duplicate invoices are found.

Robotic processing automation (RPA) is emerging as another effective support. This software takes over repetitive tasks while using the same programs employees had. RPA tools instruct bots to automatically navigate AP software and perform the same steps as staff members but at a more rapid rate. RPA bots can also be designed to follow rules, such as caps on how much an invoice can be worth, to prevent fraud and other costly issues.

Whether the goal is to bring fiscal — or physical — relief to AP processing, it’s clear that advanced tools can be serve as a major pain reliever.

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