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The Datacor Blog

AP Automation Benefits in 2022

April 7, 2022 by Jinelle Park

One of the biggest obstacles to growth for a modern distribution and process manufacturing business is inefficiency. Implementing an automated payments system not only improves productivity and saves time but greatly reduces the chance of errors.

Paying vendors can be a time-consuming and laborious process for your accounts payable team. Digitizing the AP workflow and automating the process provides a trusted, secure, and effective alternative.

Leave the Manual Process Behind

AP automation is about finding repeatable tasks in your accounts payable process and allowing them to be controlled via software. That means activities that are highly replicable such as seeking signatures and approvals, or writing checks and sending ACH payments, can be handled quickly and easily with minimal human input.

By removing the need for all that data to be entered and controlled manually, you’re significantly reducing the likelihood of errors and mistakes, while also improving payment times and efficiency.

Even better? By taking such repetitive and laborious tasks away from your team, it greatly reduces their workload so they can focus their time elsewhere and put their skills to better use.

Ultimately, the aim of automating your AP process is to improve – and streamline - the approval workflow.

Datacor ePayments

Datacor ERP provides an integrated payment processing solution that makes these vital but repetitive tasks as painless as possible. With our system, you’re even able to generate additional revenue through credit card rebates.

We are committed to helping you manage the whole AP workflow – ultimately, helping to remove some of the pressure from teams by automating certain processes and taking some of the pain points out of more mundane tasks.

Datacor first introduced our popular ePayments system in late 2019, partnering with trusted third-party service provider Nvoicepay (now known as Corpay), to build the seamless integration between our leading enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and their web-based payment execution platform.

The aim was to enable customers to create check runs in the ERP as you always have and, rather than having to print off all those checks or export the files, upload them into a bank file, and go through the whole approval process again, send it direct from the ERP to our partner’s platform with the click of a button.

Once you have your check runs ready to go, ePayments handles the actual execution of the payment – including distributing to your vendors virtual credit card numbers, ACH payments or paper checks as well as automatically sending the remittance information.

Rest assured that this isn’t a major IT implementation project either. One of the biggest selling points is that Datacor and Corpay have invested lots of time and resources into making it as easy as possible for users to get up and running, and typical implementations are completed in 4-6 weeks. That frees up time and allows users to turn their attention to other activities.

We offer plenty of support through that initial process, configuring the system to your specific needs based on how your business handles its accounts payable workflow. Once the backend set up is complete, vendor information is added, and databases are linked, ePayments goes live and your finance and AP teams can immediately start to see the benefits. Learn how Haviland Enterprises saved hundreds of AP work hours with automated payments here.

The Business Case for AP Automation

So, whereas in the past you’d be cutting checks, downloading the ACH files, and chasing physical signatures and approvals, you no longer have to do all the hard work yourself.

Instead, as soon as a payment file is uploaded to the system, emails are instantly sent out to designated contacts requesting their signoff. Once that’s been received, Corpay takes over and pays on your behalf – pulling the required funds from your account, dispersing the payments, and sending on the remittance information.

For chemical distributors and process manufacturers, it is now tougher than ever to recruit the right people for their accounting departments. And when you do find them, why waste their time and effort on these more mundane tasks?

In fact, Datacor ePayments could even let you scale up an operation without needing to add another full-time employee. Our software makes it possible to process more payments with the same number of people - but over a shorter time. It takes away some of the unnecessary strain and makes your team’s job far easier.

Datacor ePayments overcomes all the challenges that face accounting teams and makes what has always been an inefficient and heavily paper-based process far easier to manage.

From a reporting standpoint, it also provides full transparency and accountability. Payment data is readily available for audit purposes and the software includes an array of useful reporting capabilities that really help to speed up month-end close.

Whether viewing outstanding checks and payments to vendor data, different payment types, or monthly, quarterly and annual spend, the easy-to-use dashboard provides robust insights into your payments program.

And remember, everything is completely accessible from any device as long as you have Wi-Fi or data available as their platform is accessible from any browser. Even if you’re off site or travelling, users can still easily review vouchers, provide approvals, and get those payables out the door on time.

AP automation is a proven solution that’s safe, secure, and can always be relied upon. As a trusted financial services provider, Corpay indemnifies every payment that’s sent through its platform and assumes all liability should there ever be an issue, removing any associated risk for users. The platform independently verifies and validates all banking information from the vendors to ensure accuracy and that transactions go through smoothly. Payments are guaranteed, bonded, and insured – and are Soc 1 Type 2 and Soc 2 Type 2 compliant.

Future Plans for Datacor

As a direct response to feedback from our customers, we are particularly excited by the upcoming launch of our new AP Invoice Automation add-on, which will further support the efforts of finance teams.

This highly-anticipated addition will further simplify the accounts payable workflow – right up to the processing of each invoice. Whereas ePayments automates the actual payment execution, AP Invoice Automation does all the initial legwork to process invoices.

Typically, when an invoice is received, it’s necessary to check it against the purchase order, confirm what you've received, and make sure you’re invoiced correctly. That entire process of putting through the invoices, adding them to the general ledger and creating a voucher for payment is a heavily manual process with many repeatable tasks. Our new product, native to Datacor's ERP and due for launch in the coming months, takes care of all this for you and works in tandem with our core ePayments functionality.

A particularly exciting feature with AP Invoice Automation is its in-built optical character recognition (OCR) technology. Once an invoice is uploaded into the system, this clever tool runs through a series of background processes and scrapes the data to populate the required fields such as the PO number, invoice number, charges, and remittance address.

Machine learning algorithms allow the system to become smarter as it develops a better understanding of the data. Over time, it trains itself and scales dynamically across the entire system, applying the same rules and parameters to different customers’ invoices to more accurately scrape the important information.

Combined, ePayments and our soon-to-be launched AP Invoice Automation software provides a comprehensive end-to-end invoice processing package, eliminating repetitive manual tasks so your team can instead focus on growing the business.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is AP automation important?
Growing businesses need to scale their operations in sustainable ways and automation provides a less expensive and ultimately more scalable way to increase a team’s output without adding more employees to the process.

What are the main advantages of accounts payable software?
The main advantages are increased efficiencies, reducing errors through fewer manual tasks, and relatively low – if not zero – capital cost because of potential credit card rebates.

How do you know if you need this software?
There are several considerations. Perhaps your team is struggling with the volume of invoices? Are you missing payments to vendors and losing out on the opportunities to take early payment discounts? Is your team struggling to find the time to turn their attention to other high-value projects? If so, AP automation should be something you consider.

Find out more about Datacor ePayments and our new AP Invoice Automation software, or contact us to book a demo here.

Topics: Datacor ERP, Datacor ePayments, AP Automation

Jinelle Park

Written by Jinelle Park

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