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Why Invoice/AP Automation? Justifying Your ROI

by | Jul 12, 2021

There are a variety of motivations that drive organizations to seek invoice/AP automation. Some of the warning signs can include burnt out employees, mountainous stacks of unpaid invoices, or processes stuck in quick sand. These red flags usually point to a manual, outdated invoice/AP process that is not only causing a loss in revenue, but also could be contributing to high rates of turnover and the inability to recognize liabilities.


Some of the top-ranked pressures that cause decision-makers to implement change include: 

  1. Need to reduce invoice processing costs – 73%
  2. Need to improve handling processes – 51%
  3. Need for better cash management – 24%
  4. Need to improve processes and remove inefficiencies – 14%


Additionally, the top pain points for AP staff were ranked from 1-5 (5 being the most painful). 

  • Manual data entry (3.27)
  • Resolving errors and exceptions (3.17)
  • Routing invoices for approval (3.08)
  • Lack of visibility across invoice-to-pay process (2.71)
  • Lost and/or missing invoices (2.59)
  • Inability to accurately forecast liabilities (2.57)

*Source: Aberdeen Group – E-Payables Invoice Receipt & Workflow 



We’ve all heard the definition of insanity–doing something over and over again, expecting a different result. Your invoice/AP processes will not fix themselves, actual change must be incorporated into your business processes to see tangible results. So what should your organization do? Sit idly by and watch everyone, including the tortoise, pass you? If you are serious about improving your invoice/AP efficiency, here are some of the top strategic actions recommended by experts.

  1. Automate invoice receipt/workflow processes (62%) 
  2. Integrate e-payables solutions with other systems (58%) 
  3. Centralize AP processes (29%) 
  4. Standardize invoice receipt and workflow processes (27%) 
  5. Conduct internal assessment of current AP capabilities (27%) 


Some organizations have already implemented these changes and are seeing measurable results. We will call these organizations “Best-in-Class,” while “Industry Average” represents most organizations that have started to implement some sort of automation but still rely on some manual processes. The “Laggards” are organizations that have not automated any part of their AP process.



As one can see, the “Best-in-Class” organizations are not only processing more invoices per month, but the cost and time to process each individual invoice drops significantly. Compound those gains over a month and a “Best-in-Class” organization can save upwards of $175,000 monthly using the example above. That’s more than $2 Million per year.

It all sounds great right? Who wouldn’t sign up for saving $2 Million per year…but how does it work? Let’s look at how a traditional invoice is ingested and how automation streamlines traditionally slow manual processes.



These are out-of-the-box extractions that will make an immediate impact on your Invoice/AP processes. Furthermore, if you have unique invoices that have fields that can’t be extracted out-of-the-box, the system can be trained to learn and extract these fields as well.

Even better, our solution will seamlessly integrate with all of your output channels–email, fax, hardware scanning, mobile, EDI, etc. Once scanned, the advanced data extraction features non-template based OCR extraction, integrated to core LOB applications and leverages existing business rules. What does that mean for your business?

  • Faster recognition of liabilities 
  • Reduction in staffing or growth without adding resources
  • Realization of early pay discounts 
  • Enhanced operational efficiency/accuracy 
  • Increased auditability
  • Lower cost to process 




With more than 30 years of experience, Western Integrated Systems has been helping companies capture, manage and secure corporate information since 1981. Our team of highly qualified individuals have the product knowledge, technical expertise and business savvy to implement state-of-the-art technology solutions from our partners. We also provide unmatched professional service and dedicated technical support in our efforts to provide the best digital transformation solutions available on the market.

Learn more about our Accounts Payable Automation options here, or contact us today and our team will tailor a solution that fits your business needs.


Written by WIS



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