May 7, 2020
Mark Brousseau, Analyst and Researcher in Business Process Automation, Brousseau & Associates
Accounts payable invoices are often the ‘eyes’ to the financial health of the business.
The spend- and supplier-specific information on invoices can provide insights into a company’s:
- Working capital
- Corporate spending
- Supplier relationships
With these insights, businesses can determine whether to take advantage of early payment discount opportunities, identify spend trends and patterns, gain an edge in contract negotiations and more.
The problem is that manual and semi-automated accounts payable processes don’t provide the level of visibility into invoice information that businesses require in today’s competitive global economy.
- Key information is not captured
- Data is incorrect
- Information is not timely
- Data is poorly organized
- Systems are fragmented
And the reporting from downstream systems cannot overcome these issues.
As a result, businesses are missing out on lucrative opportunities to leverage better payment terms, capture discounts for early payments, avoid risks and reduce unnecessary operational costs
How accounts payable processing software improves visibility
Automated accounts payable solutions enable businesses to maximize the value of their invoice information. These solutions provide valuable tools for financial reporting and analytics:
- Graphical, interactive dashboards and reports
- Real-time performances metrics
- Key Performance Indicator (KPI) reports
- Real-time spend data from invoices
- Ad hoc reporting
- Data exports
- Seamless integraton with some enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications
- Mobile access to reports
What’s more, stakeholders can easily drill down into accounts payable information by general ledgers (GL) code, business unit, budget category, supplier, geographic location and other critical variables.
These tools provide stakeholders with instant access to the insights they need.
For instance, line-of-business managers can use accounts payable information to better track department spending, control expense patterns and manage budgets more proactively.
Treasurers can make better, more informed and fact-based decisions about whether to take advantage of an early payment discount offer when comprehensive accounts payable data is at their fingertips.
Auditors can instantly see all the invoices and data related to a supplier.
And CFOs can know where the business stands with its cash at any point in time.
It is no wonder that improving reporting and analytics is a top priority of accounts payable leaders, per Ardent Partners’ 2019 State of ePayables report. What are your invoices trying to tell you?