4 Ways Document Management Could Improve Your Accounts Payable Process

Updated: Feb 1

Does your Accounts Payable (AP) team still utilize manual data entry and distribution of purchase orders and invoices? Do document approvals take a lot of time to get completed, or do documents sometimes get lost along the way? Does your AP team seem to be drowning in paperwork with matching invoices to purchase orders and other documents to verify billing requirements?


If you can relate to any of the questions above, it’s time to consider focusing on a solution to this problem: document management.


A Document Management System (DMS) is a solution that enables you to organize, store, and retrieve your electronic documents, reducing the reliance on paper. Integrated to a business management software like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business central, it can automate receiving and registering a document for posting and retrieving previously processed documents from your digital archive. From an AP perspective, here’s how a DMS can help you improve your AP process:


1 | Reduce manual data entry.


Any finance person who handles the accounts payable process would agree that they probably spend more than half of their time just manually keying in data around purchase invoices, credit memos, and other types of relevant financial documents. These paper-based documents are difficult and time-consuming to store, manage and process. Not to mention, because most of these documents are confidential by nature, they are not safe and too cumbersome to bring home in a remote working scenario.


An automated document management system (DMS) can capture data from scanned paper documents, PDF files, or XML files. The more advanced DMS has built-in OCR technology that can automatically scan relevant information and transfer the extracted data to an integrated business management software such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business central. This capability drastically reduces or eliminates human error caused by manual data entry and typing.


2 | Match orders automatically.


Manually keying in data is probably just half of the AP challenge. Complying to three-way matching of purchase orders, receipt reports, and invoices is another story. Pairing these documents with their general ledger entry can be a tedious and time-consuming process that can hinder your AP team to manage your spend or forecast budgets.


A smart DMS can automate capturing of incoming business documents and match orders automatically. It can pair purchase invoices and credit memos with purchase orders, return orders or return shipments, ensuring that there’s consistency in these documents so it can be processed and approved automatically.


3 | Automate workflows.


Intelligent document management systems (DMS) have built-in automated workflows that help your AP team automate document routing and approvals. With a DMS, your purchase invoices and credit memos can be sent for approval first digitally before posting them or paying them out to vendors. Everyone in your organization will have access to the workflow anytime to check the status of your documents for approval. This process workflow automation not only can drastically improve your AP team’s performance, but it can also significantly reduce the reliance on paper.


4 | Mobility.


Organizations operating only within the four corners of their offices are long gone. Remote working is now the default workstyle. It is imperative to enable AP teams (or all employees for that matter) to have the flexibility to access data quickly, seek approvals easily, and process work accurately. File shares that are not connected to any system critical to your AP processes make document processing disconnected and time-consuming. They are also cumbersome to access while working from home.


DMS solutions streamline your AP activities by rapidly capturing purchase orders and invoices. With an automated document capture integrated into your business management software, you reduce duplicate work and manual data entry.


What next?


We can confidently say that your AP team can benefit from shifting away from a paper-based approach to automated document capture. 2022 is an excellent year for your organization to implement an intelligent document management solution to improve your AP team’s productivity and efficiency. Contact Systema Solutions today to learn more about how automated document management solutions can address your organization’s goals.