At my house my 9 year old daughter, Reese, has her finger on the pulse with everything.  This includes such things as what I am doing, my girlfriends’ latest dramas, her sister’s boyfriend, and even her father’s March Madness picks.  While getting her to turn off the nightly gossip and close her eyes for sleep may wear me out some evenings, I am beyond thankful for the insight and humor she injects into my world.

While Invoice/Accounts Payable Automation may be second nature to me that is only because I live and breathe it 8-10 hours a day with my ear up to the door (conference room door that is), much like Reese does with her older sister!  Most of the people we speak with who seek out Invoice Automation applications aren’t spending hours in this specific area, rather they are running the AP department for their company.  I therefore feel compelled to pry your tired eyes open and get you up to speed on Accounts Payable Automation.

I see 5 keys trends to take into consideration for Accounts Payable personnel exploring their automation options:

Betcha Can't Eat Just One - Invoice Automation#1 – Taking a Stab at Automation No doubt your company is making headway with respect to automation.  We all are pressed to do more with less time these days therefore technology and accounting teams are motivated to find areas of automation.  Many have already mandated vendors to email all invoices electronically or are scanning in bulk and storing on SharePoint.  I hear of more and more of these initial movements toward automation with each instance highlighting the need for more efficiency in regards to labor intensive, paper processes.  Plus, once you experience the benefit of automation in one area you simply want more and more.  It reminds me of the “I Bet You Can’t East Just One” Lays Potato Chips commercials.  I don’t know about you but I certainly couldn’t eat just 1 potato chip! Same deal with invoice automation.  Sure I can scan the invoice but what about recognizing the contents using OCR? Or now that I have the invoice details in an electronic format can’t we automate the review/approval process?

#2 – Accounting System Many ERP applications in the marketplace are adding automation functionality suggesting that in the near future your ERP may be a one-stop-shop.  However the complexity of data capture (OCR – Optical Character Recognition) is quite a nut to crack therefore unless you want to be the guinea pig it is safe to assume they have 3 – 5 years of development remaining to bring it to your out-of-the-box ERP application.  In the meantime third party Invoice Automation Applications are doing just the reverse by taking what they know best, automation, and building integrations with your accounting application.

#3 – Document Management Your organization may very well utilize a document management application but that alone will not meet your requirements with Accounts Payable Automation.  With Invoice Automation we have to go beyond storing the Invoice for future reference and focus on process improvements of workflow routing, GL account coding and ERP integration.

#4 – Government Mandate Sarbanes – Oxley is what comes to mind here.  Even though mid-market private companies are not directly held accountable for compliance, the overall trend can be felt with companies of all sizes.  Of course there are no specific laws that spell out a mandate for AP automation, rather the general principals of accountability and auditability apply.

# 5 – Learn More

Now, to no surprise I am going to give you an option to learn more about the SharePoint Invoice Automation Application we offer for Microsoft Dynamics GP and NAV.  Don’t stop there!  Continue with your research, learn more, watch videos and schedule interactive demonstrations.  There are numerous AP Automation vendors in the marketplace and the trick is determining which application is the right match for your accounts payable needs.

Change is needed in Accounts Payable and I am certain you don’t want to stop with just one piece of automation.  You have many options to consider as you evaluate your internal business processes and bottlenecks.  I sincerely hope you jump on the learn more trend and watch this short 5 minute Invoice Automation for Dynamics GP & NAV video to see what options exist. By Tiffany Allen, DynamicPoint – SharePoint Expense, Invoice & Requisition Management applications built exclusively for Dynamics GP & NAV.