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Resources   /   Glossary

What Is Accounts Payable Automation

Accounts payable automation allows accounts payable teams to convert paper invoices into a digital format and then automate the process of organizing them within the system, routing them for approval, and executing the payments. Accounts payable automation can also enable full visibility into the status of individual invoices as they move along the automated pipeline.

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What is the Accounts Payable Process?

The traditional AP process requires people to be directly involved in the step-by-step process of receiving invoices and making payments. The steps include:

  1. Receive paper invoices
  2. Type the invoice data into an electronic system
  3. Deliver the paper invoices to business leaders for approvals
  4. Chase the appropriate signatures
  5. Cut paper checks
  6. Send payments to vendors and suppliers


How Does Accounts Payable Automation Work?

The accounts payable automation leveraging technology to streamline and optimize the processes associated with managing and paying vendor invoices. Key differences in the process include:

  1. Invoices are captured digitally through scanning or electronic submission
  2. Data is extracted and automatically placed into its required fields
  3. Stakeholders receive approval notifications through electronic workflows
  4. Data is exchanged between AP and ERP systems in real time
  5. 3-way matching is done automatically
  6. Payments are approved and processed electronically


What Does AP Automation Solve?

To better understand the challenges AP automation solves, consider this scenario: When businesses open, they usually only need to process a few invoices per month. As their customers and revenues rise, the number can swell to hundreds or even thousands. As invoice volumes increase, AP leaders need to decide how to handle them.

Some companies hire more staff, which helps get the job done but adds costs. Alternatively, if they want to handle increased volume with their existing team, the company needs systems in place to handle payments and invoices efficiently. Simply put, AP automation solves the challenge of scalability in your accounting.

An automated method of conducting the day-to-day tasks of the accounts payable team can also have a massive impact on the number of physical materials the company uses in general. The number of filing cabinets in the office, the volume of invoices, and the instances of lost invoices can all be reduced. Accounts payable automation could be the key to making your accounts payable team as efficient as possible by eliminating much of the need for repetitive tasks to be done manually. AP automation provides many benefits to AP departments that need to streamline disorganized and inefficient workflows including:

  1. Reduce human errors and improve accuracy
  2. Aid in business growth
  3. Free up more time for high-level strategic initiatives
  4. Unite the workflow of the entire AP team
  5. Strengthen supplier relationships with better business payments


How Does Payment Processing Work in B2B AP Automation?

While companies should certainly feel at liberty to tailor the automation process to their individual business needs, there are a few general steps that work best when automating B2B payment processing:

  1. Map out your current AP process– To organize your AP process, you can use an accounts payable process flow chart, which will help you visualize each step of the process and how all the steps work together in the cycle.
  2. Evaluate your AP department’s greatest needs– calculate the time, expense, and resources it takes to process an invoice manually.
  3. Build advocacy– Ask your finance team what AP workflows they’re using and which ones consume the most time and cause the most difficulty.
  4. Implement the right software for your businessAutomated accounts payable technology grants comprehensive insight into the AP process, enabling teams to effortlessly track and locate individual invoices as they seamlessly navigate through the workflow.


SAP Accounts Payable Automation

One of the benefits of AvidXchange’s accounts payable automation software is that it can be integrated with SAP Concur to reduce the amount of manual work required throughout the process, which can help create an accounts payable system that is more efficient and less prone to error. AvidXchange’s bill pay solution, AvidPay, can work in tandem with the SAP Concur app to enable businesses to pay bills using a payment automation solution. This can help businesses reduce inefficiency and risk in their bill payment processes.

If an accounts payable team is using Concur solutions like Concur Invoice to assist with their invoicing process, they can also implement AvidPay to allow for an automated bill payment process. By minimizing the need for paper supplies, AvidXchange can enable accounts payable teams to switch to a completely electronic method of processing invoices and payments. This could help businesses save money if they combine AvidXchange with their SAP Concur login.

If a business is currently using SAP Concur and also wants to implement AvidXchange to automate their accounts payable process, SAP Concur could continue to be used alongside AvidXchange. By integrating AvidXchange with SAP, accounts payable automation can be utilized without the need to abandon SAP Concur if it is already working well.

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