How Document Management Benefits Accounts Payable: Fewer Errors

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An automated accounts payable system can recognize and reduce errors in documents, improving efficiency and accuracy.

Document management software saves time and money by automating labor intensive business processes for accounting and finance departments. In addition to the significant savings that can be realized, there are other significant advantages associated with accounts payable automation, among them improved vendor and supplier management, enhanced employee performance review capabilities, and more efficient transaction verification and audit control. When properly deployed, document management can result in a better, faster and cheaper accounts payable (AP) process. 

Fewer Errors

Error correction and improved exception handling are two significant advantages gained when running accounts payable through an automated process. Discrepancies are caught early because all documents can be compared as soon as they are in the system. The electronic document trail leads not only to the party responsible for the document in question, but also to who is the proper authority to validate the correction and approve any changes. The result is that the correct documentation goes to the correct personnel at the correct time automatically.

Utilizing electronic process workflow eliminates time wasted by variations of procedures. Workflows are configured through the document management system and are not subject to staff interpretation. This leads to a consistent process where every set of invoices is handled in the exact same way. The same holds true for exception handling. Standard exceptions, for example dollar amounts that need approval from management, receipt of deliveries with backorders or damaged goods, can be routed automatically to the manager or staff member responsible for resolving the issue. This eliminates the need to find ‘the right person’ to solve each conflict and results in a rapid and reliable resolution procedure. Payments can still be made within the vendor discount window even when a problem or exception arises.

The key to reducing errors and expediting workflow for accounts payable through EDM is by capitalizing on proper indexing. Indexing identifies each document by recording only the necessary data needed for matching and procedural purposes. In the case of accounts payable, that may mean invoice numbers, vendor names, dates, amounts, etc. Modern EDM systems can do most of this automatically, resulting in fewer user errors. Moreover, by leveraging proper indexing many manual steps in the AP process can be handled automatically allowing staff to focus on the critical aspects of the accounts payable function.

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