If you haven’t done so already, then you need to automate your AP process, which starts with the use of dynamic PDF stamps. Doing so can tangibly reward you in far more ways than you probably imagined possible.
Dynamic PDF Stamps – An Updated Solution
There’s an old maxim stating, “If you have to write it more than three times in a day then you should do yourself a favor and stamp it.” Certainly some truth to that notion – adhering to it in the past millennium would have surely saved you some time and helped improve your productivity.
Fast forward to present and the same logic applies. It makes sense to utilize an updated solution, such as a customizable PDF stamp when you are stamping “received” and “paid” on invoice documents dozens to hundreds of times daily, weekly and monthly. Surprisingly, this isn’t the norm within a sizable portion of the accounts payable departments of small to large businesses nationally and internationally.
Efficient AP Workflow
When it comes to operating a business, process and efficiency are two of the most critical elements for any company, no matter their size. Without doubt, one of the most important areas of operation for a business is its AP department.
Generally considered a cost center, the key for any company’s AP department is to maintain accuracy, minimize the cost of paying the bills and adherence to good cash management practices. Doing so requires that a well-considered work flow plan be crafted and implemented – one that maintains best practices for each step throughout the accounts payable process.
And while there can be differences in approach and the sequence of steps taken, there’s no doubt that the first thing to happen in any AP workflow process is that of taking receipt of an invoice.
In the more distant past, all invoices were received in paper form through the mail. Upon receipt, the document was marked or stamped “received,” after which time it was manually routed to the next stage in the process.
Despite advances in workflow process tools and practices, the overwhelming majority of companies, ranging small to large, continue to take delivery of paper invoices. According to Charlotte N.C.-based business-process advisory firm, PayStream Advisors, 97 percent of invoices taken in by “novice” companies (characterized as having limited experience with AP automation processes and tools) are in paper format. The cost to process each invoice averages $15 and takes 45 days in processing time from receipt to payment approval.
Those numbers improve moderately for mainstream companies with some amount of workflow process experience, according to PayStream. They estimate that 91 percent of invoices received by mainstream companies are in paper format. Those companies are able to process their invoices quicker and less expensively – an average of 23 days from invoice receipt to approval, at a cost of $6.70 per invoice.
For those companies who have been willing to analyze, redesign and automate most, or all, of their AP workflow processes, categorized as innovators by PayStream, there is substantial savings in time and cost. Nearly 1/3rd (32 percent) of the invoices taken in by innovators are in electronic form. This suggests that a sizable percentage of companies would prefer to issue electronic versus paper invoices, and that more would do so if allowed and encouraged by AP departments across the board. In addition, innovators gain the added benefit of reducing process time to an average of 5 days, at a cost of just $2.36.
Beyond the reduction in internal costs associated with AP processing, invoice process automation enables a company to more effectively manage their cash flow. They are able to pay when it’s most advantageous to do so.
This includes proactively managing payment authorization and payout to capture discounts often offered by vendors and providers for timely invoice payment. According to PayStream, firms who automate their processes and implement best practices in AP workflow are likely to capture 75 percent of such discounts. Conversely, those at the other end of the spectrum who don’t automate tend to capture just 18 percent of available discounts.
And there’s the issue of using resources more efficiently. Utilizing an employee to manually process a payment request (retrieve invoice, manually stamp and scan document) is labor intensive and a waste of a valuable asset that could be better leveraged doing other tasks that are likely to increase overall company productivity.
AP Process Automation – it all starts with a PDF stamp…
Contact us today to learn more about how our customizable PDF Stamp solutions can help you automate your processes and drive down costs.