It happens in every organization. A day arrives when you choose between adding staff just to enter data and handle documents, or you finally decide to automate. Today, intelligent process automation makes it an even easier choice to automate the routine and focus your staff for higher-value work.
Scaling back office operations: old problem, new solutions
The biggest challenges companies face when it comes to back office processes, including vendor invoice and customer sales order handling, isn’t just volume—it’s velocity. Which means that the clock is ticking the moment your customer places and order, or your vendor submits an invoice. A sales order that isn’t processed efficiently potentially impacts cash flow and customer satisfaction. Vendor invoice processing delays potentially translates into a lack of timely data related to general ledger accruals—which again, can impact cash management.
As companies grow, keeping up with the influx of documents and transactions can become a real pain point. Inevitably, after an accounts payable or sales operations team has added a few additional staff members just to enter data, and still struggles to keep up, the question arises: “Isn’t there a better way?”
A BETTER way than manual data entry and document handling
The good news is that there IS—one that continues to get even better. That’s because process automation technology has gotten smarter, and easier to implement. Rather than relying on code, and customization-heavy deployments, today’s intelligent process automation solutions can be implemented quickly, in a way that can learn and adapt to changing business conditions.
That means that you can put a system like InvoiceAction (for vendor invoices) or OrderAction (for sales orders) in as little as 90 days:
- Fully automate gathering orders/invoices and related transaction documents
- Extract relevant transaction data from those documents (vendor/customer info, transaction details)
- Validate the data against your Sage or Intacct ERP records
- Automatically match documents like quotes/orders/invoices/receipts and flag duplicates
- Intelligently route invoices/other documents for approval/coding to the right person
- Instantly create records within your ERP from the approved transactions
Smart, Flexible and Adaptable
The key to getting a system like this up and running efficiently is to rely on a model that is flexible enough to adapt to the process exceptions that always crop up after a system is deployed. That’s why modern process automation systems rely on machine learning technology. As a result, rather than coding or configuring for every possible condition, these systems identify process exceptions, alert one of your staff members, then record that staff member’s mouse clicks and keystroke actions to learn how to handle the issue the next time. By learning and adapting, these systems relieve your IT staff and your process owners from lots of unnecessary intervention.
Beyond efficiency and scalability
Without flexible, self-learning technologies, automating the sorting and handling of vendor invoices or customer sales orders in this way was achievable, but only at high volumes, and with a significant investment in professional services and IT to implement and maintain it.
Today, in contrast, even lower-volume processes that involve lots of data entry or document handling can be automated in a way that’s easy to cost justify.
Once implemented, intelligent process automation solutions go beyond efficiency gains and scalability to deliver even greater benefits. Automating document handling and data entry for business processes delivers more timely, accurate access to business data–which can mean visibility and better control over key performance indicators. It can also deliver new business insights about things like purchasing trends or vendor early pay discount opportunities.
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