This article was originally published in the Summer 2018 issue of The Record.
Manual invoicing is time-consuming, inefficient, costly and open to human error because companies often don’t have a clear overview of which invoices have been received, processed, approved and paid. Hence, they may miss outstanding payments and incur financial penalties, damaging relationships with suppliers and customers.
Automated accounts payable (AP) solutions offer an easy way to accelerate, and increase visibility into invoicing processes. Research company PayStream Advisors found that 71% of organisations are either implementing or considering this type of solution, while Aberdeen Group indicates that well-implemented AP systems can reduce time and costs by 75%, decrease error rates by 85% and improve process efficiency by 300%.
Whilst Microsoft has provided a great starting point by adding new invoice automation capabilities to Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, more can be done to optimise AP automation. Delivered via the cloud, Bottomline Technologies’ new Invoice Automation for Microsoft Dynamics 365 uses machine learning to maximise the efficiency of AP software throughout the invoicing process.
During the initial ‘invoice scan and import stage, automatic capture technology uses machine learning to locate and extract vital information from invoices. As a multi-tenant solution, Bottomline’s Invoice Automation optimises invoice capture for each supplier which means that all customers benefit from these improvements.
Machine learning also optimises the ‘invoice review and approval’ stage by creating templates that assign specific codes to invoices from certain suppliers and route them to the right person for approval without human intervention. The technology also learns how the user interacts with the AP solution and gradually builds up layers of rules to reconfigure the process so that less manual intervention is needed with each subsequent invoice.
In the document management stage, users can view the original invoice and supporting documents while they’re coding or approving an invoice. They can also quickly access the original documents from within Microsoft Dynamics 365 for auditing purposes, ensuring compliance with document retention regulations.
Companies and users benefit from being able to manage the entire invoicing process from within Microsoft Dynamics 365, with approvals via mobile or e-mail platforms. This, combined with overviews of outstanding tasks and analytical insights via intuitive dashboards, enables companies to maximise AP processing efficiency and reduce time and potential errors dramatically.
Jon Rushton is a commercial product management director at Bottomline Technologies
Share this story