Is AP Automation Worth It?

Let’s run the numbers

We often speak about the benefits of AP automation. Payables is a good candidate for automation because it’s a function marked by many repetitive, ordered tasks that consume too much time when performed manually. In this article and the companion recorded webinar, we zero in and add up the ROI (return on investment) associated with AP automation. Is AP automation worth it? Let’s run the numbers.

Minimize Printing and Storing Costs

It might surprise you to learn (it sure surprised us!) that even today, in the “digital age,” the average American office worker uses an average of 10,000 sheets of paper a year. Ten thousand sheets that will ultimately be tossed (recycled, we hope) or filed.

Watch the on-demand webinar: Is Automating AP Worth It?

Printing and storing paper is deceptively expensive. To arrive at the actual cost impact, you need to consider the cost of paper, printer supplies and maintenance, filing supplies, and offsite storage fees — and we haven’t even gotten to the labor costs yet. In fact, simply printing and storing just AP-related paper may cost your company nearly $12,000 annually.

Using DocLink as your document management and AP automation solution can effectively eliminate the need to print and file almost anything. When a document can be stored electronically and accessed on demand, you don’t need to print or file it.

  • ROI on AP Automation: $12,000

Streamline Access and Sharing

Fifty-four percent of US office professionals report wasting time searching for much-needed files in cluttered online filing systems. It’s estimated that the average time we spend looking for “something” is between one and ten minutes. How many times a day do you look for something? Multiply that in an office setting where there’s more to look for and more places to lose it, and inefficient file access and sharing costs magnify exponentially.

AP Automation streamlines file access and sharing across the organization. Data shows that DocLink clients save over $41,000 annually in employee time across AP clerks, department managers, vice presidents, and audit preparation time.

  • ROI on AP Automation: $41,000

Eliminate Manual Workflows

The typical manual AP workflow involves many touchpoints. First, somebody opens the envelope or the email. Maybe they print the email or make a copy of the mailed invoice. Then the invoice gets routed around the office for approval. In some companies, stacks of invoices get mailed or couriered to headquarters. Ultimately, the invoice goes to someone who hand keys it into the accounting application (and hopefully makes no typos), and it goes from there. In short, it’s not a short process.

Every touchpoint costs you money. Whenever someone has to think about, search for, handle, copy, enter, or file an invoice, it costs money. On average, the company’s cost of these manual AP workflows is nearly $38,000 annually.

AP Automation obviously can’t eliminate the need for all human action — yet! But it can certainly stop most of it. For example, consider approvals, perhaps the most critical and time-consuming step. Approvals can be largely automated by using approval limits, vacation re-routing, and reminders.

  • ROI on AP Automation: $38,000

Adding Up the Savings

Is AP automation worth it? Using actual data from real clients, the savings we’ve noted here are realistic — conservative even. A typical company can save over $90,000 annually by embracing AP automation. We invite you to view the recorded webinar for more details behind the numbers and to hear about clients who’ve saved much more. We’d love to demonstrate AP automation using DocLink for your organization. Reach out and we’ll make it happen.