Accounts Payable (AP)


Accounts Payable Automation Suite – AP ProcessFlows®

In today’s competitive business environment, running your operations more efficiently is paramount to a successfully evolving organisation. When looking at efficiency, most organisations have already solved the issues surrounding their structured operational data, by implementing CRM, ERP, Accounts and other line of business systems.

However according to Gartner, up to 90% of business data, transactions and records are in an unstructured format – paper, fax, email, office documents – and nowhere is this more prominent than within the Accounts Payable department.

It is common for Accounts Payable (AP) departments to deal with a large volume of documents (unstructured data) from PO generation to invoice receipt and approval. Large volumes of documents generally require a large amount of manual processes and input, which can result in duplication of work. All of this takes time and costs the organisation money.

ProcessFlows can supply a solution to automate the Accounts Payable process, removing the errors and costs associated with manual data entry and routing, along with the requirement to store vast amounts of paper.

AP ProcessFlows is a real-time, rules based, supplier invoice processing system which could save your organisation upwards of 75% of your current AP costs.

In addition, AP ProcessFlows will provide data integrity, real time reporting, right-place, right-time approval and many other efficiency gains that will reflect throughout your business.

Accounts Payable Business Pains

AP Departments can often face a variety of business pains, including:

  • Dealing with large volumes of invoices coming from different suppliers or cost centers, in many different layouts/designs and various delivery formats – post, fax, email, EDI
  • Errors associated with manual data entry – often the same transaction needs to be entered more than once, increasing the transaction cost
  • Labour-intensive processes required to input data can be complicated further if linked to different costs centres and /or involve currency conversion
  • Longer lead times due to manual routing, processing and sign-off procedures involving individuals in different departments and possibly different countries – early payment discounts are often lost and fees can be incurred for late payments
  • Inefficiencies due to time spent gathering physical documents in order to match invoices with purchase orders, delivery notes, contracts and accounting system records
  • Risk of document loss or damage, as documents are received at multiple input points and may be routed or classified incorrectly
  • Costs associated with manual document routing, shipping, couriers, storage, archiving and auditing
  • Inability to easily audit invoice processing and payments to match up document flow with the accounting system

The Cost of Accounts Payable

The AP process in many businesses is still largely manual. As a result, AP departments often have many personnel whose sole responsibility is to process supplier invoices.

According to research carried out by the Hackett Group, manual AP processes are costing businesses on average £2 – £4 per invoice to process and reduce employee productivity by at least 50%*. Other research suggests that where invoices go missing or have a complex approval process, the costs can be as high as £20 per invoice.

What is evident is that regardless of the processes you have in place for approval and systems you have in place for Accounting, if you are manually handling the data then there is a huge opportunity to improve efficiency and reduce costs by streamlining your AP process.

For most organisations, AP ProcessFlows will pay for itself within a 12 month period.

How can ProcessFlows Help?

AP ProcessFlows is a solution that manages documents that drive AP processes and maximise the benefits of fast, efficient and precise document processing. Regardless of how documents are received (fax, email, post, EDI etc), our solution captures, organises and delivers them, along with supporting content, to the appropriate individuals for review, approval and automated processing.

Our solution allows users to quickly and easily access invoices and supporting content/documents, as well as make decisions, from the applications and devices that are most convenient for them. For example, employees can quickly retrieve invoices, PO’s, delivery notes directly from within their familiar ERP/finance applications, including SAP and Oracle. Managers can review and approve invoices and input additional data directly from Microsoft Outlook or via mobile devices such as an iPad, iPhone, Windows or Android. A ProcessFlows’ real-time dashboard also provides managers with increased visibility into the status of invoice processing, enabling them to identify bottlenecks and slow down processes and adjust workload distribution of the fly.

Electronic documents such as emails, PDF, Word, EDI can be captured automatically when they are received. Paper based documents via the post can be scanned directly into the system, invoice scanning is a key function of the solution. Documents are stored within a central, secure, fully audited electronic filing cabinet. Whether the document is electronic or scanned, our solution will use the correct method of data capture, such as our advanced OCR, IDR, ICR technology, to read the document contents, extracting all the key information, not just the header information but also transactional line items. Documents will be automatically routed around the organisational to the relevant individual/department by a variety of methods including supplier, contact and transaction value for approval/authorisation. Employees can authorise a document from their desk or while on the move from any location where they can connect to the internet via a smartphone or mobile tablet. Once approved, a transaction file will be created, which can be automatically imported into the organisations ERP/finance application. This removes the need for manual input, resulting in the transaction being inputted correctly first time, without error. The document will remain stored securely and easily accessed via the organisations ERP/Finance solution.

In relation to invoices, AP ProcessFlows will take care of the invoice management, invoice scanning and invoice matching requirements, completely automating the entire process.

AP ProcessFlows

If a business wants to significantly reduce costs and in the same stroke become highly efficient, then the AP process is the place to start. But don’t take our word for it; find out how LexisNexis’ Accounts Payable Manager, Isobel George, made the decision to switch to a fully automated Accounts Payable process – See our LexisNexis Case Study and Video.

Benefits of implementing AP ProcessFlows:

  • Works with your existing accounting software
  • Reduces the operating cost of process by up to 75%, improves cash management
  • Removes manual work and automates the entire process including approval
  • Improves process controls, tracking and compliance
  • Timely and accurate reporting within the accounting system, improving viability
  • Ability to access to prompt payment discounts and avoid late payment penalties – improves supplier relationships
  • Eliminates ‘lost’ invoices during approval process
  • Improved staff morale and ability to focus on core business tasks by providing tools to empower worker effectiveness
  • Workplace enhancements – retain employees, reducing the cost of recruitment and training new staff to bring them up to speed
  • Assists with business expansion and growth. Allows the organisation to expand without requiring additional staff and incurring additional overheads
BI Dashboard ScreenshotSo, you’ve got loads of accounts data, but how easy is it to access it to make reports? ProcessFlows BI Dashboards hook in to all your databases, spread-sheets and documents, enabling real-time reporting, in an easy to read graphical format. For more information, please click here.

Stages of AP ProcessFlows:

  • Capturing purchase orders and/or delivery notes
  • ICR of invoices, Invoice Scanning
  • Document matching, Invoice Processing
  • Exception handling
  • Approval process
  • Updating Accounts systems
  • Document archive

Accounts Payable Webinar Video

More information

For more information you can call us on +44 (0) 1962 835053, or email

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