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Frictionless accounts payable – increase your efficiency and working capital

Arush Kumar
January 19, 2021

Anyone that works in finance and accounting or procurement knows that inefficient accounts payable (AP) process can create a range of challenges for your organization. These include invoice processing delays that can lead to increased vendor queries, missed discounts, significant impact on working capital, not to mention dissatisfied customers and suppliers.

How do you create frictionless finance processes that drive enhanced outcomes for your customers while enabling your employees to focus on higher-value tasks?

The challenge of accounts payable technology

Firstly, it is important to understand that the implementation of tools and technologies to automate the various stages of your AP process alone may not be enough to drive a frictionless AP process. This is especially true if you continue to process significant volumes of transactions manually.

Despite leveraging state-of-the-art e-invoicing and intelligent character recognition (ICR) tools, non-standard and low-resolution invoices, as well as continued manual invoice submission, can slow down your AP processing and fail to deliver the results you are looking for.

What’s required is a systematic and structured program of process standardization, optimization, and change management to create the pathway to frictionless finance processes. This combination of cutting-edge technologies and digital operating model serves as a reliable roadmap to transform your AP process, and implement – what we call – the Frictionless Enterprise.

Increased efficiency and working capital

Tangible business outcomes from a frictionless AP process can be achieved through implementing:

  • E-invoicing – encourage or incentivize your vendors to submit electronic invoices through the implementation of portals, for example, Ariba, Taulia, or Tungsten
  • Intelligent character recognition – implement tools such as Celaton inSTREAM™, Abbyy, or Algonox to automate data extraction from your paper invoices. Implementation should include vendor training and change management to eliminate frictions during the transition
  • Change management – drive change management with vendors and internal departments to minimize the number of exceptions, such as purchase order and goods receipt mismatch. Exception routing and posting can be automated through your workflow or through leveraging robotic process automation (RPA). In addition, process mining tools, such as Celonis, provide a detailed analysis of delays for applying corrective actions
  • Vendor portal – enable self-service by making your vendor account details, including invoice status, available on the vendor portal. Leverage chatbots and intelligent automation to provide automated responses to manual queries
  • Electronic payment transfer – automate your payments on scheduled dates and via electronic transfer
  • Evaluated Receipt Settlements – reduce your invoice processing volumes by moving low-value purchases to either a Purchasing Card(P‑Card) or Evaluated Receipt Settlements (ERS).

Going frictionless

Through the right combination of technology implementation and process transformation, a streamlined, frictionless AP process can increase your efficiency by 30–70% and deliver working capital savings of 5–7%.

It also drives spend management savings through leveraging real-time analytics, improves controls, reduces the risk of fraud, and improves supplier relations to help deliver frictionless business operations across your organization.

To learn how Capgemini’s Digital Global Enterprise Model (D-GEM) platform can drive digital transformation of your finance function to deliver a frictionless accounts payable process, contact:

Arush Kumar is responsible for driving digital transformation of finance processes leveraging Capgemini’s Finance Powered by Intelligent Automation offer, which adds value to our clients’ business operations by implementing best-in-class processes and driving financial savings.