RPA Use Case: Automate Your Accounts Payable Workflow

Robotic process automation for invoices can rescue your employees from boring tasks, save your company from expensive mistakes, and deliver a fast and efficient workflow solution to your organization. Here is an example of how it works.

Problem

Businesses of all shapes and sizes waste valuable time and energy every day by managing their invoices by hand. The accounts payable department is bloated with the manual process of entering invoice data, creating paper invoices, matching purchase orders, and filing endlessly. To complete a single invoice, AP controllers must toggle back and forth between their email and invoice preparation application, be it Oracle NetSuite, Wave, QuickBooks, Tipalti, Xero, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, ERPNext, Odoo, GunCash, TurboCASH, Sage Inacct, or other ERP softwares. Not only is this process time consuming, it is also riddled with human error leading to costly consequences. What’s worse is this boring, repetitive job can result in employee burnout and high turnover rates.

robotic process automation for invoice

AP Controller can add an average of 5 invoice per hours at 12 minute per invoice. This process includes which includes data entry, proofing and correcting the mistakes, and processing the invoice. A single invoice done manually can cost a company anywhere from $2.25 to $3.25 in hard and soft costs. This is a yearly cost of $36,000. Companies need a faster and cheaper alternative for invoice processing.

robotic process automation for invoice

Solution

Robotic process automation can rescue your employees from boring tasks, save your company from expensive mistakes, and deliver a fast and efficient workflow solution to your organization. Invoice processing is the perfect candidate for RPA because it is boring, repetitive, and rule-based. Software bots can be programmed to process invoice data, validate information, create business exceptions, send invoices, and even generate summary reports once they’ve finished a job—all automatically. Here’s an example of how it works using Wave Invoices as the AP application:

Here’s how it works: The software robot receives invoices as attachments in emails, creates a folder with run dates, and then downloads all the invoices. The RPA bot then opens the Wave application and logs in with secure credentials. It then creates the invoices using the data from the email attachments. If any errors are detected—like a past-due notice—the bot automatically sends an email to the business detailing the problem with the affected invoice attached. A summary report that includes the validated invoices and failed invoices is also sent automatically once the bot has finished its tasks. We used Wave in the example above, but no matter what AP application you use, RPA can be implemented to automate your specific accounts payable workflow.

Impact

Using robotic process automation to streamline the invoice workflow significantly and positively impacts the cost, time, and accuracy of the task. If we remove the knowledge workers from the typical invoice processing workflow above and replace them with digital workers/software bots, invoices can be completed in just 2 minutes at a cost of $0.40 to $0.50. And rather than spending $36,000 annually to manage invoices, the company will only expend $1,200 thanks to robotic process automation.

robotic process automation for invoice

Conclusion

For decades, businesses have been invoicing the same, wasteful way. Now, RPA has arrived to disrupt the process for higher yields, greater savings, and more accuracy. Accounts payable teams no longer waste away toggling between applications, manually verifying data, and sending emails. These jobs are now replaced by robots, freeing up knowledge workers for more important jobs like tracking down payments from customers. A high-functioning workforce consists of robots and humans working together to achieve maximum efficiency and output. Who’s ready to automate with robotic process automation services?

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