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5 manual ap tasks that ap automation can remedy

April 13, 2018 Matt Vermeulen
These common manual Accounts Payable pain points can make you tear your hair out on a daily basis – if you even had time to tear your hair out in the midst of all that paper. If only there was a way to automate them: Endless paper invoices. You have a thing in your office called “check-run Thursday.” Despite the name, it’s nothing like Chicken Run, the movie. Instead, your manager is the main node in a giant network of papers and banker boxes. Picture this: the room is littered with pink, white, and yellow carbon copy papers. Your manager is just sitting in there, approving things, paper flying around in a multicolored cloud. Hide and Seek invoice approvals. Close your eyes and count to ten. Then get up from your desk and go find the right person to approve your invoices. Don’t talk to Phil, he’s doing check-runs right now. Your other manager is on PTO. And the last person who can approve is in high-level cash management meetings all day and will be out of office tomorrow. And these invoices are already in danger of being late. Maybe Phil won’t notice if you just sneak them onto his desk? Where’s the invoice? You’re getting a million phone calls from a vendor asking why you haven’t paid their invoice yet. But when you check your files, you haven’t actually received the invoice from them. They swear they sent it. When you ask, they don’t know who they sent it to or if they sent it to the purchasing department. You have to ask Phil, and he doesn’t look up from his stack of papers as he mutters “I never got the invoice.” Now you get to call the vendor back and have them resend it. The account codes are wrong. So it turns out the dates and account numbers were recorded incorrectly on a stack of payments. And they were already entered as checks and reconciled. Now you get to redo all the bank reconciliations as far back as the transactions were affected. Now you get to spend your day going through and fixing it all. Who knows if these invoices were processed already? The supplier’s been waiting so long for a payment that they think you’ve forgotten to pay their invoice, so they send another one. One of your colleagues comes and asks if you’ve paid this invoice already. You’re the manager, so you should know. But with paper invoicing, you have to go through file cabinets, boxes, and rooms to try to find the answer. There’s likely no way of finding the answer without spending days searching – time you don’t have. Consider automation. These problems are all easy to address with AP automation. Automation doesn’t get tired of reconciling information, doesn’t take days to search for invoices, and gives you better visibility into all your invoice activity. You won’t just save time, headaches and papercuts with automation – you’ll gain valuable spend data. Just think: six months from now, while your competition is busy processing manual invoices, you’ll be providing actionable insights with the help of the data you gained from AP automation. See how DHL embraced AP automation with the help of Tradeshift’s business platform here.

About the Author

Matt Vermeulen

Matt Vermeulen writes about B2B commerce for Tradeshift. Whether he's writing about Accounts Payable best practices or debunking AI myths, Matt enjoys making complex topics easy to understand and fun to read.

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