according to 43% of envelope. all invoices stagnate and the overall have the technology to send electronic invoices approval process is delayed. The average number of invoices per month per full-time employee (FTE) is 2. this According to Ardent Partners’ research. identified by 44% of respondents. but we’re going to let you in on from a vendor with infrequent deliveries such as their secrets. . facilities.308 and it takes. the results in invoices that cannot be processed right average cost to process a fully-loaded invoice is away. Naturally. Manual invoices may be in the form of a fax. If supplier and frequency of the supplies. or a hard copy in an Another top challenge. The study draws on the experience of over 200 AP professionals and its findings reveal what Best-in- Class AP department are doing that make them stand out from their peers. a delay in matching an invoice to $14. The exception rate is. 12.21 which includes costs related to AP staff its related documents will increase the invoice time. industry-wide view of accounts payable (AP). For someone in that chain is out of the office for any example. a pdf attached to an email. managerial overhead. support. Executive Brief World-class AP departments know something or an organization may receive a paper invoice you don’t know. and IT processing time. respondents. How Persistent is Paper? Seventy percent of inbound invoices are still manually submitted to AP departments. 13. AP Key Indicators Many AP Departments still struggle with manual invoice processing and feel the impact of how inefficient a paper-based process can be. on average. Ardent Partners conducted an independent research study in order to gain a comprehensive. This is a result of paper-based And the reasons why an organization would processes having AP staffers physically moving continue with a paper process include size of the an invoice through the approval chain. office supplies. on average. is the  average invoice cycle time delay in receiving matching information which  average invoice exception rate could also mean the lack of the correct data. a small to mid-sized enterprise may not reason at all.1%.4 days to process invoices through the entire invoice cycle. There are four primary key indicators AP teams should focus on to determine their department’s efficiency: Top Challenges for AP in 2015  average cost per invoice Ardent Partners’ research identified the major challenges that AP Departments faced in 2015.  average invoices per FTE The first. is invoice and payment approvals taking too long.

Early payment and approvals (36%) as well as automated data discounts can offer significant financial benefits capture (29%). Document imaging will increase slightly (20% of Another benefit of this shortened invoice respondents) as the technology is in fairly wide processing time frame is the ability to capture use already.Many enterprises also face a high level of Current and Future Competencies – The exceptions resulting in invoice approvals taking too long. empower AP staffers with greater insight. which suppliers are easiest to work with. based on the data. This Thirdly. for an organization and capturing more of them means better cash flow. The top 20% of performers are and even how much spend is conducted against considered the Best-in-Class. plan to implement AP automation. And it is anticipated that there will be more early payment discounts across the entire more significant increases in automated routing spectrum of accounts payable. performance. while nearly half use automated routing supplier who might ask when payment could be and approval workflows in addition to automated expected thus frustrating internal and external data capture and extraction tools. More accurate be seriously considering one. stakeholders. primarily due to increased visibility into the So. What is most intriguing is that this these technologies are not new or cutting edge. Imagine no longer needing to physically carry a paper invoice to an approver’s desk or having to email an invoice only to have it languish in an inbox while the approver is away Over the next two years even more organizations on vacation. but the processes need to Most of the technological capabilities that be refined allowing invoices to be matched to organizations need to automate their processes POs or receipts. In terms of these base-line . how long each takes to respondents are segmented based on process. if an organization is not invoice process which can provide AP teams with using an AP automation system today. For example. relationships with suppliers can vastly means that enterprises have little reason to fear improve as a result of automation. Without visibility. Automating all or part of the AP process can significantly shorten the invoice approval workflows. paper processes have a distinct lack of respondents to Ardent Partner’s research are visibility. They are each contract. invoices are received. are already in wide use. AP staffers are not already using document imaging or scanning able to provide the status of an invoice to a solutions. differentiated based on how they performed relative to the rest of the field according to the key invoicing benchmarks. 68% of Finally. Who is Best-in-Class? Greater insight into business operations allow business leaders to see. This usually means that the enterprise Technology Exists has some automation. otherwise it may be information can result in more accurate answers putting the organization at a huge disadvantage for the inevitable vendor status calls as well as versus the competition. This is these systems outside of organizational inertia. how many In every Ardent Partners’ research effort. it should more accurate information. The Opportunity for AP Automation Automation offers significant opportunity to directly address the challenges of accounts payable across all of the industry’s verticals. at a glance.

for example a contract and a other companies. the Best-in-Class exception rate is also less than half that of all other AP Standardizing processes allows for top teams. Identifying and measuring metrics is critical to understanding how the organization performs and how to improve performance. Generally. for every 1000 invoices this works out quickly and the organization capturing an early to monthly cost of $2420 for the Best-in-Class payment discount. meaning that their invoices go through processing stages in a more efficient manner Monthly Cost Impact – A Case Study than invoices that cannot be automatically routed. i. Best-in-Class have the ability to performance across all key invoicing automatically route invoices for approval benchmarks. top performers process four invoices in the time it takes everyone else to process just one while also putting three times more invoices through the process in any given month. Overall. means that there will be fewer AP staffers on Best-in-Class teams also process exceptions overall. the quicker the process moves along.42.61. Nearly all of the top performers (85%) in Ardent’s Best-in-Class organizations drive improved study used document imaging or scanning.metrics. Most top performers also measure key AP metrics. So. purchase order (PO) or a contract. This is critical because automated routing is a key Assuming a 1000 invoice sample. There are a few technologies that support Driving Best-in-Class Results the Best-in-Class advantage.000 less to process 1000 Best-in-Class Technology Usage invoices. performers differentiate themselves from all others. the more standardization in the invoice approval workflow. In other words. And not only are they able to process more invoices in a shorter time frame. PO. results beginning with invoice processing Document imaging and scanning can cut capabilities. This means the top performers are able to process seven The ability to match invoices to two or three other invoices for every one invoice processed by all documents.” standardize their AP processes. performing AP teams to process multiple invoices in the same way every time. they are compared to the rest of their two or three-way matching capabilities and they peers.610 for all others. Best-in-Class differentiator and can make the difference cost per invoice is $2. and $17. Best-in-Class pays. That kind of savings adds up quickly and over time puts significant amounts of capital Adoption of technology is another way top back into the business. and goods receipt note. the Best-in-Class have differentiated themselves from all others with superior Finally. three times more invoices per month than everyone else while also processing those invoices in a 78% shorter time frame. Best-in-Class have a cost per invoice that is 86% less than all other organizations. All other organizations between an invoice languishing on someone’s experience an average per invoice cost of desk for days or an invoice getting approval $17.e “all others. Nearly all top performers (87%) have remarkable amounts of paper out of the process . about $15. on average.

top performers approve automation. Best-in-Class also invest heavily in strong process capabilities such as two and three-way matching and straight-through invoice processing. disruption. financial situation. these characteristics drive the Best- in-Class to high levels of performance that allow AP teams to turn from cost centers into profit centers. if an much shorter. Why Make the Change? Technology plays a huge role in the ability of the “If it ain’t broke. There are four key characteristics that Best-in- Class organizations share: AP automation offers significant savings over the long-term through a combination of decreased Secret 1: Standardized processes and strong processing costs and an increased ability to P2P linkage capture more early payment discounts. don’t fix it” does not apply to Best-in-Class to outperform their competitors. for a transition to automated accounts payable. The automated scanning an automated routing and workflow. Invoices are approved in organization is in varying stages of deploying AP significantly less time. Automated routing and approval workflows eliminate the possibility of an Best-in-Class invest heavily in AP automation invoice sitting in an authorized approver’s email technology including document imaging or inbox waiting to be addressed. visibility into enterprise and AP metrics. There are significant reasons Without a strong technological implementation. invoice workflow. Although. rolling out in phases may allow better invoices in less than 4 days or three times shorter assimilation to the processes without too much than the industry average. Nearly two-thirds of top performers automate Secret 3: Superior levels of automation routing and approvals. the invoice approval process becomes incompatible systems. Collectively. . workflow means that invoices are approved quickly which also hastens payment and drives Secret 4: Strong process capabilities operational efficiency. Standardized processes with a strong linkage Top Beneficiaries of AP Automation throughout the procure-to-pay (P2P) process can result in an invoice moving more quickly through Making the change to automate accounts the approval workflow as well as increased payable does not only benefit the AP department. AP teams will no longer need to perform data Secrets of Best-in-Class entry as a core duty and allowing them to become of more strategic value to the organization. Secret 2: Visibility to track the “metrics that matter” The finance and treasury teams gain increased financial data which can simplify their cash An increased visibility into enterprise and AP management work as well as provide greater metrics allows leadership to more accurately look insight into payment scheduling. AP teams continue to move paper around manually or they inefficiently switch between First. AP Automation touches nearly every piece of internal business operations.and make a notable difference in the AP team’s for efficiencies in operations and the enterprise’s efficiency.

identify and track key indicators across the business. . Finally. Finally. Available either on-premises or as a cloud Working with vendors with the experience and hosted service. find an appropriate vendor for the project. Doing this will ensure that AP automation has succeeded like it should. For example. these metrics change. Take a base-line measure before IT is able to improve financial data security in any transformation project begins. Ready to get started? How to Get Started Take the eclipse Smart AP Automation 4 When transforming an AP operation. Present the information that AP automation can drive better performance as well as cost savings across the business. docSTAR solutions allow resources to work closely with your team to craft enterprises to gain control over documents. For additional information on our company and products. process which allows for more efficient operations. Following the lead of the Best-in-Class processing capabilities and examine scan-and- capture and document management solutions as The line of business has a more cost-effective AP a first step toward full automation. About docSTAR It is critical to involve more people than just the AP team. the potential for increased visibility can turn suppliers into better partners. team. please visit the docSTAR website www. it is critical to make the business case for AP automation with upper management. the best solution to meet your needs and then improve records retention and increase implement that solution is critical. AP teams need to understand all the business and technical requirements as well as determine their long-term objectives and align all the necessary resources. Making the case also requires collaboration with all affected stakeholders of the automation process.com and on LinkedIn. there is a need to Since 1996 more than 8000 organizations have understand the project’s budget constraints and trusted docSTAR to deliver smart.Procurement gains a better work flow into spend Strategies for Success data and improved supplier performance information which can improve supplier Once the information on how to get started is relationships. enterprise content management and automated AP solutions supported by a highly responsive Also. money. monitor how systems. it is Minute Tour and learn how companies just like important for all relevant stakeholders to be yours can be more efficient. established. cut costs and save included.docstar. affordable therefore important to involve the finance team. While going addition to having tighter integration between through the transformation project. operational efficiency.