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What is accounts payable process automation?

Accounts payable process automation is a method of minimizing human intervention and eliminating error-prone tasks from the accounts payable – or trade payables – process. This is done by using accounts payable software integrated with an online business network that connects trading partners digitally. AP automation delivers greater efficiency and effectiveness through:

  • Faster invoice approvals: Errors are detected and corrected before submission and invoice data is e-mailed to approvers’ inboxes.
  • On-time payments: With faster approvals, payment information is recorded in timely fashion and payments are sent automatically on the authorized date.
  • Greater visibility: Through the online network, suppliers can track invoice and payment status themselves.
  • Improved working capital management: Payments can be timed to better manage cash and capture early-payment discounts.

Imagine what you’d achieve – and the costs you’d cut – if you didn’t have to process so much paper or field so many payment-status inquiries.

Paper is the enemy of efficiency

Paper prevents the ready availability of invoice and payment status information, for both you and your suppliers. It drains resources when manual accounts payable procedures require invoice handling, data entry, and reconciliation. Not to mention fielding payment-status calls from suppliers. All of that slows your accounts payable process flow and can lead to late payments. Late payments mean missed early-payment discount opportunities and increased financial stress on suppliers.

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Imagine paperless processing

Imagine what your accounts payable department could accomplish if you eliminate paper invoice processing and costs. Instead, require electronic submission, or scan invoices upon receipt. Then, using accounts payable software integrated with a digital business network that connects you with all your suppliers, payables processing can be automated for any type of spending. By building network connections with AP process rules – based on contracts, purchase orders, and payment policies – errors can be corrected before invoices reach your accounts payable system. Besides cutting costs and risks, you’d have time and resources to add more value to the business. Like capturing more early-payment discounts and encouraging e-invoicing among more suppliers to reduce supplier risk.

Automate to be more strategic

When you use an AP solution to automate accounts payable you can link your procurement and accounts payable processes to better:

Reduce invoice errors and exceptions

Enforce compliance and prevent contract leakage

Manage non-PO invoices and invoices for services

Increase the capture of early-payment discounts

Reduce invoice processing costs

Engage your accounts payable department in more strategic, higher-value activities

SAP Ariba Solutions for Accounts Payable Process Automation

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Financial Supply Chain

Transform your payables from liabilities into strategic assets to boost free cash flow, free up working capital, and deliver more bottom-line value.

Financial Supply Chain
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SAP Ariba Invoice Management

Increase the accuracy of invoices to speed up both processing and payments. Let SAP Business Network do the work of pre-validating invoices so any missing or incorrect information gets corrected and you see fewer exceptions.

Learn about invoice management