AP Automation Meets the Moment Today and Beyond

September 2020

AP Automation Meets the Moment Today and Beyond

In an increasingly digital world, manual accounts payable (AP) processes have become antiquated. If your company processes invoices by hand and cuts paper checks with “wet” signatures, it’s not only time and staffing intensive, but also prone to errors and requires work to be done in person – a challenge for business continuity. Stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic have made the latter challenge even more evident, causing AP staff to have to scramble to get necessary approvals or go into closed offices to print checks.

The good news: AP automation can solve these challenges, save time and personnel resources and give your business flexibility and security in uncertain situations. A cloud-based platform integrates with your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, allowing you to issue your supplier payments from anywhere. When coupled with automated invoice receipt and approval, you can receive, review and approve invoices remotely while retaining your approval controls and rules. Company stakeholders have transparency to where and when payments are issued, can easily answer supplier questions, and have a real-time view of available funds.

An illustration of the accounts payable (AP) automated process from beginning to end: receive invoice from supplier, approve invoice, your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, make vendor payment, reconcile payment

How it works: Getting to know your processes from the start

Success begins with understanding your current invoice and payment process, and how automation can be applied. KeyBank’s discovery method will review your company’s:

  • Payment volume and type
  • Invoice volume and type
  • Purchase orders and procurement system
  • Reconciliation process

Together, we review how many steps and personnel it takes to collect paper-based or digital invoices, gain approvals, and issue a payment, whether paper or electronic, then reconcile it within the accounting system. We can see where issues or bottlenecks are most commonly occurring, and what information is needed by other departments or employees. We also help identify suppliers or vendors that can switch from issuing paper to electronic invoices and accept electronic payments.

Why it works: Addressing your AP pain points

Many companies have reasons they haven’t yet digitized their AP system, including concerns about their technological capabilities, reluctance to change longstanding methods that have worked for their business and wanting to ensure that payments remain secure.

Unfortunately, by keeping manual systems in place, companies are vulnerable to several challenges:

  • AP employees are spending their time on clerical work, rather than on more complex tasks that add value for the business.
  • The high number of steps and people involved increases the frequency of errors.
  • Processes are not scalable – adding more vendors to pay means needing increased manpower and time.
  • There is less transparency into the history of payments to a supplier and more difficulty completing audits.
  • Taking work remote makes it more challenging to get approval and exposes employees to risk and fraud.
An illustration of the benefits of AP automation, which includes: cut costs by 60% or more, open and scan, save time, take control and gain visibility

KeyBank’s efficient, customizable paper and electronic payment services offer the control you need to successfully manage and streamline all payment functions. Additionally, our robust security controls protect the value of your accounts, with options including positive pay, ACH transaction blocking, dual controls for outbound payments, support for identifying common fraud and cyber-security risks, and enhanced monitoring.

The results: Seamless beginning-to-end integration with your business

KeyBank has invested in financial technology to offer customers integrated, end-to-end solutions that work with the systems and technology capabilities you have in place today.

  • KeyTotal Invoice, powered by AvidXchangetm*, is an automated, rule-based routing system to streamline invoice processes and approval workflows. It mimics your current practices for simple integration and puts all the information you need at your fingertips, including detailed reports and 24/7 viewing of invoices.
  • KeyTotal Pay, powered by AvidXchangetm*, is a completely paperless payment process that uses a proven and easy implementation model for payment automation. It’s compatible with more than 150 accounting systems for seamless setup, while working with all banks and unlimited bank accounts. Following set up, clients can deliver payments directly through Key Total Pay instead of printing and mailing checks.

Conclusion & Contact Info

To meet the moment today and be ready for the future, your company needs a fast and flexible payable solution that can be accessed and managed anywhere. Because KeyBank takes a broad look at your treasury management, we can develop customized, focused payables solutions that streamline processes, reduce errors and create value for your company. It all begins with an in-depth discovery progression to pinpoint your needs – and an implementation strategy with those needs in mind.

Please contact your KeyBank Payments Advisor or go to key.com/payments.

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