4 benefits of intelligent document processing that can boost AP department efficiency

Mar 15, 2022 by Automation Hero

Well-functioning AP departments are crucial for success. Here are four benefits of intelligent process automation

Accounts payable isn’t glamorous, but invoice approvals and payments are the bedrock to running a successful business. That’s why it needs to happen quickly and accurately. Yet, manual invoice approvals are incredibly time consuming and labor intensive — especially in high volumes.

Robotic process automation (RPA) began to lessen this burden when it entered the market in the early 2000s. The technology promised to create a “digital workforce” that could replace humans for much computer-based work, but failed to deliver much of it, especially in terms of document-based workflows.

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In the 2010s, intelligent document processing (IDP) was created to automate many of the tasks that RPA could not. Powered by artificial intelligence, IDP can read documents, extract information, and even contextualize it, reducing the burden on human workers to read and process an endless pile of invoices. Essentially, IDP reads an invoice, knows who sent it, and how much is being requested. According to a Business Insider report, just this simple automation has improved processing efficiency by 73% compared to manual handling. What’s more, IDP has helped some organizations reduce AP department costs by 81%.

Entering the intelligent process automation era

The 2020s have introduced another upgrade to automation. Dubbed intelligent process automation (IPA), this new generation of technology unifies the capabilities of RPA and IDP into one platform, or suite of tools, and leverages AI to further refine workflows and improve efficiency.

Essentially, intelligent process automation offers the potential to fully automate every business process, even extending into the way leadership makes decisions. On the granular level, the benefits of intelligent process automation can impact the way accounts payable departments operate.

Intelligent document processing for AP departments

The benefits of intelligent process automation affects nearly every aspect of AP department operations, from approving invoices to managing databases. Here are four of the most impactful capabilities:

1. More efficient invoice capture

Automated invoice processing can supercharge your invoice processing with intelligent document processing. Leveraging natural language processing and AI, IDP can automatically process invoices from every type of channel and extract the contents as structured data. This is great for organizations that accept invoices via email, as intelligent document processing can read the intent of messages, automatically download attached invoices, and process them without the need for a human to even open the email.

2. Faster approval speeds

Since intelligent document processing platforms can read and contextualize all the information in a document, they can understand who submitted each invoice, how much is being requested, and what service was rendered.

With access to a purchase order database or ERP system, platforms can even automatically verify the invoice is accurate and route it for payment — all in a matter of seconds rather than the minutes it would take a worker to manually process.

3. Limitless integrations

Another benefit of intelligent document processing is how seamlessly it can connect with other software through APIs. AP departments often leverage a number of tools for different tasks, and users must manually reformat or transfer data between them. IDP can create more unified workflows by automating this work so AP employees can focus on higher-level (and higher value) tasks. This could allow users to fully automate the invoice approval process, from capture to fund disbursement.

4. Easier auditing

Errors, audits, and process reviews are a fact of life in accounts payable. IDP tools can automatically log every step of each workflow for easy review. AI can even spot where potential bottlenecks or workflow breakdowns may happen. Manually auditing processes is also easier since so many can be managed through a unified invoice processing solution.

Invoicing processing has always been a critical operation for successful businesses, but it takes considerable resources. Fortunately, the benefits of intelligent document processing can transform accounts payable operations so organizations can achieve new heights of profitability.

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Learn how we helped Markerstudy reduce its claims processing time by 40%. Additionally, learn how we reduced total claim processing time by 80% for another multinational insurance partner — cutting down manual tasks from 10 minutes to just two minutes per claim.


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