Invoice Reconciliation and the Future of Accounts Payable Automation

As you start scaling your company and finance team, what can you do to improve your accounting processes at a lower cost? Luckily, technology has begun to evolve to tackle these issues that are time-consuming for your team. Accounts payable automation software is the best (and possibly only) way to affordably scale your finance team regardless of your growth or the number of invoices processed. Here are some of the ways software is addressing the major concerns of today’s accounts payable teams.

1. Prevent invoice fraud

One of the issues to be addressed is fraud, which lurks in places you wouldn’t expect, like your very own invoices. According to OpenEnvoy, a fintech startup providing automated invoice auditing, 30% or more of your invoices could have unfavorable accuracy errors. Throwing people power and resources at the issue can prove to be extremely costly. By automating the process of checking invoices to their originating documents, OpenEnvoy helps your company eliminate AP fraud and overcome careless supplier invoice practices. The software automatically detects any invoice total or line item that doesn’t match the purchase order or estimate it was billed against down to the penny and immediately notifies you, adding money to your bottom line and giving you more control over your cash flow.

2. Simplify B2B payments

Making payments at scale is expensive and challenging. AP automation software can automate your vendor transactions and customer invoice management. This technology enables you to reduce the tedious manual tasks within the accounts payable process, saving you money by eliminating the need for human intervention and extra vendor management while also reducing compliance risk. You can empower your accounts payable department with customized approval workflows and simple bulk processing that scales with your needs, whether you are paying 100 invoices or 10,000.

AP automation software such as Routable helps you get paid faster with tools like automated reminders, early payments, and flexible payment methods. You can track actions from your vendors and purchase orders, along with seeing real-time ledger notifications increasing problem visibility. It also easily integrates with your current automation system or ERP system to easily process any invoices you upload, whether using PDFs, scanned paper invoices, or you convert other types of supplier invoices. 

3. Remove manual processes

AP automation technologies can also streamline tedious, repetitive work that takes valuable time away from your team so they can focus on more critical items. In the example of invoice fraud, many financial leaders realize that inconsistencies hiding in their invoices are a goldmine, but the cost of hiring a team to discover them is just too high. In addition, these teams can be prone to the same kind of human error that caused issues in the first place. Sometimes larger companies end up outsourcing this discovery to consulting firms, while others end up outsourcing their entire auditing process to payment networks. Neither of these options are at all ideal for a company. AP automation tools like OpenEnvoy empower you to handle these audits in-house without all of the daunting manual labor.

There are similar issues facing AP departments in making payments. According to an IOFM study, AP departments “spend 84% of their time bogged down by a seemingly endless list of manual and semi-automated invoice processes, including data capture.” Because these processes take so long, they are often delayed payments, with AP teams scrambling to make them on-time and keep their suppliers and vendors happy. On top of that, inconsistencies due to human error can further worsen these issues. By simplifying bill payments, automating data entry, and creating streamlined AP workflows with solutions like Routable, your team has more freedom to focus on what matters.

How OpenEnvoy + Routable can help

Together, AP automation technologies like OpenEnvoy and Routable allow financial teams to focus on their important, strategic projects rather than becoming bogged down by repetitive tasks. By implementing both types of automation, your team can become dramatically more scalable and specialize in areas that make a significant impact while improving your audit trail for compliance. Use OpenEnvoy and Routable together to audit your invoices, make easy payments, and empower your financial team through accounting automation. Visit Routable’s website to start working with their product today, and contact us to demo how we can work with you to implement AP automation in your team.

Finance Director Kristen Malone Finds Her Niche at Hyperscience

Kristen Malone will be the first to admit: She’s a bit of an Excel nerd. 

Malone, Director of Financial Planning and Analysis at New York-based startup Hyperscience, sees the ubiquitous spreadsheet application as much more than a tool for number-crunching: It’s a creative outlet. 

Automation in finance and accounting has the potential to reshape the profession. According to a study by Deloitte, 56% of finance roles could see some level of automation in coming years, which opens new pathways beyond repetitive, routine tasks.

“Building things from scratch, making something out of nothing, building processes –⁠ I have so much fun in Excel,” Malone says. “Excel is such a powerful tool, and it’s a great place to start before you get to the really expensive software.”

Before landing at Hyperscience, Malone’s drive to build led her on a journey from a large public accounting firm to a series of fast-paced startups, including a stint at the financial news network Cheddar. Malone discovered that startup life gave her a chance to use her accounting skills to solve interesting, unique problems and to drive growth. 

“At Cheddar, we launched different networks and changed programming hours and had to figure out how to make it all work: Staffing, arranging schedules, hiring optimally, investing at the right time, and making it all fit. So our job was to make a plan and present it to the board,” she says. 

During Malone’s tenure as senior director of finance, Cheddar grew from a fledgling digital news service to a widely-distributed network spanning business, sports, culture and more. About three years after it was first launched, it was acquired by Altice USA for $200 million. 

Part of the fun, she said, was learning about how the media business works. 

“Before I worked at Cheddar, I knew nothing about media, so it was a cool opportunity to learn about so many different parts of the business,” she adds.

Malone found she had a talent for building processes in an earlier position, which had outdated systems and required a lot of cleanup of historical accounting records, she said. The need to streamline those systems created an opportunity to design new systems –⁠ and hone new professional skills in the process. 

“Getting thrown into it is a great way to learn, at least for me,” she said. “That experience made me realize I enjoyed process building and automating workflows –⁠ and that I was good at it –⁠ so I kept at it. It’s an essential skill to have in a startup environment.”

That spirit carried over to Hyperscience, where Malone heads up financial planning and analysis at the six-year-old software startup. Hyperscience focuses on an emerging category called robotic process automation, which uses programmable, software-based ‘workers’ to automate enterprise workflows. As lead planner and analyst, Malone uses her skills to create processes and make them run efficiently, directing a team at the growing tech firm. 

“It’s complicated and detail-oriented, but it’s fun to take information and present it into a way people can digest. It’s like trying to solve a puzzle,” Malone says. 

Apart from building cutting-edge products, working at Hyperscience comes with perks: Notably, a level of work-life balance that made it a good fit for Malone. She also found a welcoming environment as a woman in the male-dominated finance profession. 

According to the research group Catalyst, women make up 54% of the overall financial services profession. However, that number diminishes at the most senior levels of leadership, despite evidence that gender parity in the C-suite leads to better outcomes. A study by S&P Market Intelligence found that men outnumber women by a factor of 6.5 to 1 among CFOs, but that women-led finance departments deliver superior profits and investor return. 

As with many other professions, the reasons for the disparity are a mix of structural and more subtle factors: Being interrupted or ignored in a meeting, encountering double standards in expectations compared to male colleagues, being mistaken for someone in a more junior role, or other discriminatory cues in the workplace. Much of it can boil down to a company’s internal culture, as well. 

“At least from what I’ve seen, women can succeed and move farther more easily in startup environments,” adds Malone. “At the same time, every startup I’ve worked at has had an all-male C-suite, and none have had a female on the company’s board.” 

For women coming up in finance and accounting, finding a good manager or mentor can be helpful in finding your niche. As with many other professions, the gender gap is real in finance ⁠–⁠ but whether you’re an auditor, accountant, planner or analyst, it’s also a wide-open field for women in the profession. 

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Malone added. “As long as I present them in a way that people can understand and take action on, I’m not worried about being heard.”

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