You and your company work hard every day to foster growth and profitability. High payment volume is a good sign of success but, if you’re like many companies, you don’t have the bandwidth to support the higher workload. If that’s the case for you, expect to see negative impacts downstream—late payments lead to penalties, poor supplier relationships, and stunted growth. Your growth has outpaced your capacity. And worst of all, profitability quickly suffers as AP teams become overwhelmed, supplier relationships suffer, and cash flow problems arise.
For Epicor ERP users, adopting an accounts payable (AP) automation solution is a critical step toward successfully scaling your volume.
The State of Affairs – Manual AP Is Long and Costly
For most manufacturers using Epicor ERP, accounts payable processes are handled manually, with teams relying on emails, PDFs and spreadsheets, and printed documents marked up with red pens. Slow and tedious, these workflows are set up for failure. Let’s take a look at a typical manual workflow for an AP team using Epicor.
- Invoice Received
When the AP team receives an invoice, the process begins. For teams using a decentralized approach, invoices can be received in a number of different ways: email is common but fax, snail mail, and hand delivery are also sometimes used. If that’s not confusing or convoluted enough, invoices are often delivered to different people in different departments.
- Data Entry
Once the invoice is received, the information must be entered into the Epicor ERP manually, a process that is wide open for error without a strong Epicor AP automation platform.
- Four-Way Matching (Invoice Approval)
Every invoice must be approved, and that requires a few steps. Have you verified that the expense was pre-approved? Did the materials arrive before payment was sent? Has the invoice already been paid? Does each shipment pass a quality check? Verifying all of this without automation is a long headache that bogs down AP teams. They have to gather information from multiple departments to track down details for every invoice. And heaven forbid the invoice contain individual lines or partial deliveries from multiple POs.
Once an invoice is approved, payment is sent.
While many invoices are sent electronically, most companies still process them with a pen and paper. With no centralized system for keeping track of invoices as they move through processing, stakeholders can’t see their status without searching for it by hand. Paper or electronic invoices might sit for days or even get lost in a cluttered inbox. Even if the invoice is emailed, an AP clerk might still be making decisions based on outdated information. These long, manual workflows often end up wasting time, which means approvals and exception resolutions lag behind.
Without the ability to collaborate in Epicor AP automation software, users experience slow approval cycles, high costs, and often burnout. The Pen and Paper Approach makes it very difficult for AP teams to share information internally, much less with external supplier partners. In fact, lack of collaboration with suppliers can cause those relationships to be inefficient at best and severely damaged at worst. Invoice approvals and disputes can take days or weeks to resolve, early-payment discounts are missed, and AP is always on the phone with suppliers going over the status of this invoice or that payment (or both—let’s be honest).
What is AP Automation and How Does it Work with Epicor?
In the world of discrete manufacturing, many suppliers send invoices in the form of PDFs or even paper hard copies (yikes!). This leaves AP teams in a bind. Every invoice must be matched to individual PO lines, which often requires multiple teams to hunt down POs and match them line-by-line.
An AP automation solution like SourceDay allows suppliers to submit invoices directly through a portal. Hard copy invoices are automatically converted to digital via data capture technology and checked so you can always trust that your data is accurate. Vendor and invoice data are automatically uploaded to Epicor ERP, eliminating the need for AP staff to manually enter invoices. Throughout this process, every stakeholder has an accurate view of the status of every invoice and PO—all at the click of a mouse through a cloud-based dashboard.
Isn’t Epicor Enough? Why Do I Need AP Automation?
There’s no doubt that your Epicor ERP is a robust, powerful tool. Epicor AP automation is an extension of your set up that benefits controllers, AP clerks, accounting managers, CFOs, and VPs of Finance, transforming their daily workflows from paper to digital and collaborative. An Epicor AP automation solution writes directly to your Epicor ERP, which means CFOs and VPs know they can trust the data to be 100% accurate. Audits are performed through a digital paper trail with notes and correspondence attached to each invoice.
Virtually every member of the finance team sees a time savings with an automation solution. Say goodbye to paper invoices and definitely stop using a cluttered inbox for a task that needs to be 100% precise.
AP Automation Transformation
- AP automation reduces the cost of invoice processing by almost half.
- Days Payable Outstanding is reduced by 18% or 5.5 days.
- Straight Through Processing (STP) for invoicing is 63% more likely
- Process 4 TIMES as many invoices
- Automation provides a 50% lower exception rate and 2.5 times faster processing per invoice.
AP automation virtually eliminates data errors written into Epicor. Now instead of investigating data discrepancies, your teams can work on strategic projects that improve profitability. They know the status of every payment, including who, how much, and when payment is due. They even have a line-of-sight on early payment dates. In short, you’re in the money.
When you extend your Epicor ERP with an AP automation platform, expect to see a number of benefits across the board. Your teams will immediately see less paperwork, as invoices are scanned into the platform and manual data entry or searching is eliminated. Every piece of relevant data is available from the cloud at the click of a mouse. Invoice matching becomes a simple process with no searching across multiple departments.
Cashflow also improves. When you leverage Epicor AP automation, there is less time spent on manual tasks and team members can focus on more important, strategic work like ensuring on-time payments. On-time payments are one solid way to ensure strong relationships with suppliers, who are invaluable partners in your success. Your relationships are benefitted by clear, centralized communication and reliable visibility into every invoice and PO line.
Epicor AP Automation: Your Future and Profitability
If you’re using Epicor ERP, you already have a powerful tool at your disposal; now it’s time to enhance and extend its capabilities with an AP automation tool that processes invoices quickly, manages POs by exception, and eliminates the need for multiple teams chasing down information manually. You’ll get accurate, real-time data that empowers your AP team to make strong decisions more quickly, and work strategically to improve profitability through strong supplier relationships.