When you run a small- or medium-sized business (SMB), you need to manage your resources wisely, whether it’s money, time, or something as mundane as paper. Investing in document management solutions with accounts payable (AP) automation solutions like PaperSave will streamline your processes, cutting costs and maximizing productivity as a result.
How does AP automation benefit SMBs?
AP automation lets you do away with traditional, paper-centric AP and document management processes by automating data capture, document filing, and invoicing. By integrating this technology, SMBs can:
#1. Save money
The greatest benefit of AP automation solutions is that they enable your business to go paperless, which lets you save a lot of money. Paper may be a cheap material, but you use a lot of it. In fact, a business spends $80 on paper per employee every year.
Using and storing paper are expensive, too. You need to buy pens and a steady supply of printer ink. To organize and store your paper documents, you’ll need folders and envelopes, as well as file cabinets that also take up valuable office space.
But that’s not all. Paper documents are prone to getting damaged or misplaced, and are neither easy nor cheap to reproduce. On average, reproducing paper documents costs $220 per page.
A paperless process made possible by AP automation lets you cut most of these off your budget. AP automation uses electronic invoices that are very cheap to process and send. Additionally, your files are stored in off-site cloud servers that do not take up any of your office space and can accommodate thousands of times more documents than a file cabinet can.
AP automation also minimizes the risk of document loss. PaperSave, for instance, creates multiple backups of your crucial documents that are also stored in the cloud. Even if one version was accidentally deleted, all you have to do is restore one of your backups and you’re good to go.
#2. Enhance productivity
If your business receives and processes a lot of invoices daily, much of your staff’s time will be spent on repetitive tasks like encoding data and filing documents. This leaves them little time to do other crucial tasks.
AP automation solutions make capturing data from documents a breeze. PaperSave, in particular, allows users to capture data from paper invoices using something as handy as their smartphone camera. Just take a picture of the document and PaperSave’s Electronic Document Imaging technology will convert the data into electronic files, which will then be automatically tagged, organized, and stored in your system. From there, your AP automation solutions can be configured to analyze invoices and send them directly to the appropriate approvals managers. If approved, there’s another setting that forwards the approved invoice to payments.
This cuts the time needed to collect and organize financial data to just a few seconds, leaving your staff with plenty of time and energy to focus on serving your customers and performing other meaningful tasks. AP automation also ensures the accuracy of your data, minimizing the need to redo or correct data entry errors.
#3. Improve data security
Paper documents are very easy to steal. If crooks break into your office, all they need to do is go through your file cabinets and grab the folder they need. Cloud-based servers are infinitely more secure.
Files stored in the cloud can only be accessed by users with the appropriate login credentials. The servers themselves are protected by several layers of cybersecurity solutions to prevent malware and hackers from gaining entry. Plus, these protective measures are updated continuously to keep your data safe from the newest cyberthreats.
If your business belongs to a highly regulated sector like healthcare or finance, storing crucial documents, such as invoices and your clients’ payment information, in the cloud will help you stay compliant with industry standards.
#4. Increase flexibility
The COVID-19 lockdowns proved just how outdated paper-centric processes are. You can’t send or receive invoices, what with courier services halting their operations. Personally delivering them to your vendors or clients is out of the question, too. Not only will you be unable to travel far, but you’d also be breaking social distancing protocols.
Electronic invoices can be sent and received through email, which you can access through most internet-capable devices.
Approving them is also just as convenient. Take PaperSave, for instance. With their mobile app, you can approve invoices using your mobile phone.
Moreover, because your invoices are stored ion the cloud, you can access them anywhere with an internet connection. This means that even if you work from home, you’d still be able to do your tasks and be as productive as if you were in the office.
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