June 24, 2022

Accounts Payable Automation in Retail - Immediate Reasons not to Overlook it!

Retail being a torch bearer in adopting modern-day technologies often lags internally in productivity due to manual document processing by the AP department. With accounts payable automation, the overhead due to manual processing can be mitigated and AP departments can meet its supplier and vendor payment deadlines effectively.

The retail industry has always been known as an early adopter of modern technologies to serve its customers better. However, most of the departments in a retail company, including the accounts payable, still rely on traditional and obsolete ways for their internal processes.

From sorting to classifying different types of invoices to pulling out relevant information from them, the employees do it all. As a result, they often go low on energy and even face a dip in productivity.

With that being said, is there a way to make the accounts payable process more efficient for the retail industry while helping employees get more productive?

The answer is yes.

Wondering how? Read on and learn more about how the accounts payable department works in retail and how an Intelligent Document Processing platform helps employees get more productive while automating their document processing tasks.

How does Accounts Payable Work in Retail?

Much like any industry, the functions, roles, and responsibilities for accounts payable are alike in retail. Accounts payable is responsible for paying the suppliers, vendors, and services purchased by the company. This is done by processing the credit due on the company post receiving the goods. To ensure no fraudulent transactions are conducted, these purchases are approved internally and then further processed by the AP department leading to final payment.

This process ideally happens with invoices in fours steps:

  • Receiving the invoice from the supplier, vendor, or any service provider.
  • Reviewing the invoice for the shipment ordered and received.
  • Approving the invoices by seeking authorization from the authority.
  • Disbursing the payment to the relevant party.

For a small retail company, the task of managing these invoices may or may not be overwhelming. On the contrary, with large-scale retail stores both online and offline such as Amazon, Shop & Stop, Walmart, etc. the task can be a mound of invoices with stricter deadlines to process.

Benefits of a well-oiled Accounts Payable Department

Looking from a bird’s eye view, the accounts payable department looks like a machinery that is interrelated within its framework. However, companies need to keep a balance and upscale their process with increasing demands, thereby, oiling the machinery to work at its best. But, how can they maintain a balance? Well, the answer lies in automating their manual invoice processes as it can allow eliminating redundant tasks and automating the repetitive tasks to make sure everything runs at its optimum levels.

A few key benefits that the accounts payable department can get by automating their processes are-:

  • Avoiding penalties or extra costs by making timely payments.
  • Improving relationships with the suppliers, vendors, and other service providers.
  • Having an uninterrupted supply of the goods from the supplier, vendors, etc.
  • Improving cash management.
  • Avoiding duplicate or double payments.

We can also see that with healthy accounts payable management that is powered by automation, companies can not only enjoy prepayment discounts but can explicitly notice a downward curve in their overall turnaround time to process documents.

Imminent needs for Automation in Accounts Payable for Retail

Today, retail organizations are rushing towards becoming customer centric at various levels. Every retail company is fighting to sustain its position on the ground and hustling to gain a better rank. For this, they need to run with the pace of the changing industry and become more agile with their accounts payable documents as they are the source of truth behind any transaction and no retail company can afford to overlook them.

Below are some of the major points that directly point toward the need for an automation solution. These are:

  • Massive volumes of documents so generated.
  • Manual data entry and verification of the documents.
  • Lengthy approval process with multiple stages.

Why is Accounts Payable Automation a must for the Retail Industry?

A few key reasons to make accounts payable processes automated in the retail industry are-

Multiple Complicated Documents

Retail has to deal with multiple complicated documents that are intertwined together with the company's overall financial health. Many times, these complex documents have loads of unstructured or semi structured data that lies hidden beneath factors such as messy handwriting, coffee stains, etc. The AP department thus requires an automation solution that can help them process huge bulk of data in no time by cutting out the noise from the documents, extracting the data from them and validating the correctness of information.

Blindspots in Document Processing

Huge piles of unprocessed documents often end up getting overlooked leading to missing data and causing blindspots. Automation in accounts payable can thus aid the removal of blindspots from the process that are frequently witnessed by the AP team. Automating the accounts payable task using an IDP platform can make it possible for the AP team to process and migrate all the data digitally without any data leakage. An IDP platform unlike manual processing doesn’t overlook any document and processes everything automatically that is fed to it.

Difficulty in Vendor Management

Vendor management is a collateral task for any AP team of a retail company. To properly fulfill this duty, AP teams are subjected to the responsibility of paying associated vendors on time. Yet, with the increasing number of invoices to processes and other financial duties, AP teams often lose the grip of deadlines further leading to poor relationships and even penalties. An IDP platform has the capacity to process massive volumes of invoices in a single go. This will account for zero time wastage in stark contrast to manual processing and make it possible for the AP department to meet deadlines in a timely way.

Poor Customer Experience

Retail runs by providing goods to the customers and constantly refilling their inventory with the latest shipment. Any gap between the two can lead to loyal customers turning their heads towards other retailers for purchase. An IDP platform can thus help reduce customer churn rate by making it possible for the AP department to process massive amounts of invoices obtained from other parties like suppliers, manufacturers etc in a short amount of time. It can even help retailers eliminate duplicate data and save time. All these factors can ultimately help them serve their customers better.

Degraded Productivity

Productivity is at the core of the retail industry. In fact, the whole dialog of automation corresponds to increased productivity for different facets of the industry. With accounts payable automation, factors relating to manual processing are immediately removed, thereby, improving productivity. With automated systems, companies have witnessed an increase of 65% for PO matching, 65% quicker approvals, and 95% faster document retrieval. This is backed by a 100% reduction in duplicate documents.

How VisionERA can ensure Accounts Payable Automation in Retail?

VisionERA is a new generation intelligent document processing platform. It comes with loads of exceptional features that make it an intuitive solution. At its core, it is a platform that automates data extraction and verification with automation and accuracy levels of up to 99%.

On the other hand, its compelling features like Automatic grid lining, industry-beating table detection system, continuous feedback learning mechanism, etc. make it a one-stop solution for any document processing needs. With VisionERA, it is possible to process unstructured invoices and extract relevant data for reporting, ledgers, and overall vendor management. Its advanced reconciliation algorithms backed by proprietary technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Computer Vision, and Natural language processing make it an ever-learning and ever-evolving platform.

VisionERA enables companies to put their document processing operations to the highest gear with zero sample training. It is a promising solution to meet effective deadlines while reducing the operational cost and turnaround time simultaneously.

Immediate Benefits of Accounts Payable Automation using VisionERA IDP

Inclusion of an IDP platform in the documentation process makes up for multiple benefits which can be witnessed immediately. Below, we have mentioned some of the core benefits our clients are enjoying right after deploying VisionERA. These are:

  • Time saved in overall document processing operations.
  • Reduction of the cost incurred in invoice processing.
  • Accuracy of the data improved by up to 99% without any manual errors.
  • Enhanced capability of drawing insights from processed information.
  • Easier fraud detection.
  • Increase in the transparency of data.
  • Cost reduction in the preservation and archival of data.
  • Easy auditing using the processed information.
  • Compatibility with the existing infrastructure and other downstream applications such as CMS, DMS, CRM, email, legacy infrastructure, etc.
  • Benefit of redeeming early payments discount and improved relationship.
  • Final Words

    The retail industry is already exploring ventures externally in terms of automation but often overlooks the aspects that can increase throughput in internal processes. With IDP, the task of managing and processing the impending unstructured documents can be completely blown away. The AP department of the company will start to realize its full potential by gaining independence from manual processing. The movement towards accounts payable automation will truly aid an organization that is able to handle its documentation well, thereby, uplifting the company’s finances.

    Want to know more about VisionERA and how it will help in accounts payable automation? If yes then click on the CTA below.

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