Don’t Fear the Month-End: 5 Ways Automation Accelerates Month-End Close
One of the top challenges for accounts payable teams stem from maintaining outdated, manual-based processes. According to the 2022 and 2023 AFP Reports, the top hurdles for finance teams were lengthy invoice and approval times, and a large percentage of exceptions, followed closely by late supplier payments and high invoice processing cost. A rapidly growing number of organizations nationwide are turning to automation to combat these challenges.
The increasing adoption of AP automation is not a transient trend, but a logical response to the demands of modern finance. AP automation provides several time-saving advantages that can significantly accelerate month-end close processes. Here are five ways automation accelerates month-end close:
- Faster Invoice Processing:
- AP automation software can digitally capture and route invoices for approval in seconds. This eliminates the need for manual data entry and slashes the time spent chasing down approval stamps on invoices. These time savings are crucial, as according to Ardent Partners’ 2023 report: 22.5% of AP staff time is spent on vendor inquiries while the cost to process a single invoice rose 10% in the past year ($10.18).
- Accelerated Approvals:
- Automation streamlines approval workflows, ensuring that invoices move through your system swiftly and are approved or rejected in a timely manner by the appropriate individuals. This eliminates the time spent on manually routing invoices and hunting down approvers, further truncating the month-end close timeline.
- Real-Time Reporting:
- AP automation provides real-time data and reports, drastically reducing the time spent manually gathering and updating information for month-end reporting. This extra time can be channeled into strategic financial analysis and planning, which adds data-driven value to major decisions. This ultimately helps guide your entire organization rather than relying on fractional department-driven initiatives.
- Digital Document Management:
- AP automation platforms store invoices, purchase orders, reconciliation and remittance data digitally. This eradicates the need to go spelunking through a labyrinth of physical files, greatly accelerating document retrieval for any stage of the month-end close and during audits.
- Quick and Accurate Reconciliation:
- The automated reconciliation process, which used to be time-consuming and prone to manual errors, is now completed within seconds. Automated reconciliation enhances accuracy and reclaims hours wasted manually matching and verifying transactions, further accelerating month-end close tasks.
Month-end close is a demanding process for finance professionals, but the implementation of AP automation can turn this daunting task into a streamlined, efficient, and accurate operation. By embracing Accounts Payable automation, finance professionals can also elevate their role in the organization from transaction processors to strategic advisors, guiding the company toward financial success. So, don’t let the phantasm of month-end close fill your team with fear —destroy their dread by embracing AP automation. Many solutions only take a handful of hours to implement, then all that is left to do is watch your fearless finance department flourish.