June 24, 2022

AP Automation in Manufacturing - Improving Account Payable Processing Exponentially

Accounts payable is responsible for all the major heavy-lifting for cost organization. Yet, they often get excluded in being a strategic partner considering the amount of documents processed by them manually. Manual processing adds a lot of time and cognitive overload over the AP department leading them to constantly be overburdened with work. In this blog, we’ll discuss AP automation via IDP and how it can drastically help in reducing turnaround time, optimize the process, and save cost.

In a situation where Accounts Payable (AP) is constantly blowing energy to meet deadlines to appease suppliers, manual processing becomes a much bigger nemesis for the department on the whole. Sure, manually processing is a cognitive solution considering it's facilitated by a human operator but it is incredibly slow and prone to human induced errors. On the other hand, there are AI based cognitive solutions such as an IDP platform that learns and evolves. These platforms are incredibly fast and can process thousands and millions of unstructured documents without any manual intervention.

While manufacturing is constantly evolving its internal processes to optimize them for maximum efficiency, on the flip side, AP is struggling with piles of documents. Therefore, first learn some of the biggest challenges faced by AP teams in manufacturing.

Biggest Challenges of Accounts Payable in Manufacturing

Accounts payable plays a vital role in improving the overall financial performance of the company. Although, while document processing there are plenty of challenges that AP departments usually come across. A few common challenges it faces are-

Manual Processing

The list of unstructured documents processed by AP teams are endless. They can be from various sources, formats, and types. An AP team meticulously reviews each and every data point to make sure there are no gaps in the balance sheet. Adding to it, manual processing makes the job of filling these gaps tough considering the time to process a single document. This time can be reduced exponentially by adopting an automation solution such as an IDP considering its capability to process documents at bulk.

Fraud Detection

Payments frauds are recurring endemics in a financial system within a company. To mitigate that AP teams are always needed on their toes to cross verify the documents and invoices they receive. A lot of inventory fraud takes place in manufacturing that can create holes in the overall finances. To fix the situation, an automated solution like an IDP can be utilized which can let the AP team detect fraud using internal/external validation and triangulation logic.

Data Management

A lot of AP departments including the manufacturing are willing to move to digital space. It is because it is much easier to store, segregate, and search data on a digital platform (for instance cloud, DMS, CMS, etc.). With IDP, it is possible to digitize the data and move it all to central repositories or databases without issues like incorrect data, unverified data, lost data, etc. Also, it sorts and segregates output data as per the requirement of the AP team.

Timely Payments

The major setback in regards to the timely payments of suppliers is manual processing. Timely payments can fetch AP departments pre-payment bonuses and earn the company extra credibility. A document processing automation system can exponentially decrease the time spent on manual processing. With solutions like IDP having the capability to process documents in bulk with zero manual intervention, it processes a multitude of unstructured documents in a single go. It fetches the AP team the opportunity to complete their document processing aiding additional bandwidth to pull off timely payments.

Improve Account Payable Processing in Manufacturing Industry

With inventory purchases, accounts payable works almost alike across multiple industry verticals. The steps within the departments can change depending upon the size, scale, and industry (i.e. manufacturing in plastics, electronics, pharmaceutical, etc.) of the company. However, the most fundamental steps always remain the same.

Below we have discussed these steps and later on mentioned how they can be improved and automated:

  • Creating a Chart of Accounts: This chart of accounts comprises multiple financial transactions recorded in the company. These can be a list of various balance sheets regarding different facets of the company such as raw material, accounts receivable, prepayments, equipment, etc.
  • Sorting Vendor Details: In this step, the vendor details are set up or updated. As a business owner, it is essential to have all the vendor details at bay along with the payment terms and whether there is any payment due or not.
  • Reviewing Invoice Details: This is done for the invoices received from the suppliers. The accounts clerks will verify the legitimacy of the invoices by checking the status of the shipment received (i.e. quantity and quality).
  • Final Payment of Invoice: At this step, post authorization of the invoice, the final due payments are made to the supplier.

These are the steps that are carried out by the accounts payable department to mitigate revenue leakages, make timely payments, and strengthen relationships with suppliers. The two most common tasks that arise between each of these steps are data extraction and data verification.

So, what if there is a solution that can automate these two tasks without any manual intervention and make zero error?

Intelligent Document Processing is the answer to it as it allows data extraction and verification at each step on massive volumes of unstructured data. Beyond this, it offers the comfort of extracting custom entries from these documents and lets the user have a custom DIY workflow. It facilitates the initiation of a self-verifying autonomous platform that automates document processing end-to-end.

VisionERA - Automating Accounts Payable in Manufacturing

VisionERA is a state-of-the-art intelligent document processing platform that has the capacity of processing massive volumes of unstructured AP related documents from varied sources, formats, and structure in a short amount of time. It is a proprietary solution developed using advanced technologies such as Artificial intelligence, Machine learning, Natural language processing, and Computer Vision that imparts impeccable features to it.

A few unique features of VisionERA include fraud detection modules and an active and continuous feedback learning mechanism which allows it to constantly learn and evolve by itself. Additionally, it comes loaded with a smart recommendation engine for better sampling of feedback files along with table detection capabilities.

Adding to it, it is capable of extracting data from handwritten documents, emails, messages, images, XLS files, signatures, and QR codes, etc. Its internal/external validation and triangulation logic makes it an impeccable platform for detecting fraud. Loaded with a variety of compelling features such as smart insights board, table detection system, autocorrection, automatic gridlining, etc, VisionERA is designed to help businesses across industries eliminate cumbersome manual paperwork, while cutting down costs and time. Adopting an IDP platform such as VisionERA can even aid organizations save time by helping them reallocate that time towards higher value tasks with greater impact on the business.


AP departments are always seen with the eye of cost organizing entities but have seldom time to participate in strategic tasks. It is because of the weight of those innumerable documents under which the AP teams are constantly striving to meet the deadlines. With automating document processing in accounts payable using IDP, the employees will be free from the dire need of manually processing documents. It will free up exponential time for AP employees to use their intellectual insights to bring forth new avenues in terms of reducing cost and help them become a strategic partner.

Want to learn more about VisionERA and how its state-of-the-art features can help you? Simply, click on the CTA below to schedule a demo with us.

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