Invoice Automation: Your Guide to Automated Invoice Processing

Anand Balasubramanian
August 11, 2022

In 2020, nearly 75% of organizations were targets of an attempted or actual payments fraud attack, according to a report by the Association for Financial Professionals. The accounts payable function was the most popular target of fraudsters and scammers: 61% of those surveyed said that the accounts payable department was the most vulnerable business unit targeted.

[Read more: ​​3 Easy Steps to Make Accounts Payable More Strategic]  

And, it’s not just small businesses that are the target of AP scams. A billing scheme that ran from 2013 to 2015 defrauded Google and Facebook out of more than $100 million. Using phishing tactics, a Lithuanian man posed as a tech vendor and sent fake emails and invoices to Google and Facebook employees, who then unwittingly made payments into his accounts. 

These types of fraudulent payment schemes are all too common. Beyond the usual training and other precautionary measures, companies can implement invoice automation to avoid the risk of falling for phishing attacks. Invoice automation not only adds an additional layer of security to your accounts payable function but also helps your business save time, money, and resources.  

What is invoice automation?

Invoice automation refers to using software to process invoices in your accounts payable function, automatically updating the information in your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. 

To understand how invoice automation works, consider the traditional process of generating, approving, and paying an invoice. First, the AP team must match the invoice against the purchase order to ensure the correct amount is billed. Then, if there are any irregularities or discrepancies — mismatched PO numbers, incorrect line items, etc. 

Once those are resolved, the invoice is then sent to a manager or senior executive for approval. Thereafter, the invoice needs to be updated in the company’s ERP system before payment can be issued to vendors. 

There are many points during this process where delays, errors, and fraudulent attacks can prevent the successful payment of the invoice. Invoice automation resolves this friction. Invoice automation platforms enable AP teams to process and approve invoices with no data entry. Automating this workflow leads to a host of benefits for businesses and vendors alike. 

How does invoice automation help businesses?

Many businesses still receive and route invoices on paper. This means significant resources are dedicated to inputting data, tracking down the stakeholders needed to approve the payment, and moving the invoice through the workflow. Automating this process with invoice automation software can speed up this process and reduce the resources spent on accounts payable. 

Intelligent accounts payable software like Glean AI can reduce the time spent on data entry. Glean AI ​​automatically extracts highly accurate invoice summary and line item details within minutes. This information is shared with other insights designed to help stakeholders understand what they need to know to start the approval process and take action faster.

Depending on the size of the company, it can take up to 25 days to process a single invoice. Businesses risk incurring late fees, damaging their relationship with vendors, and other costs when invoice processing takes nearly a month. 

Invoice automation software dramatically reduces the time it takes to process an invoice. Invoice automation tools can be configured to deliver the information that key leaders need, so bills aren’t held up while the stakeholder gathers more information. Glean AI delivers complete records so the approver has confidence in signing off on key payments. 

Invoice automation tools also sync with your existing accounting tools and systems, such as QuickBooks and Xero. These integrations automatically sync bills, bill payments, and prepaid amortizations to your GL, saving time on reconciliations and eliminating costly errors. 

[Read more: The Benefits of AP Automation

If your organization is concerned about payment fraud, invoice automation can speed up the process of invoice matching, a key step in reducing the risk of scams or phishing expeditions. Invoice matching matches the invoice against the corresponding purchase. In the traditional process, this means a member of the AP team has to search through a file cabinet or database to match individual line items on the invoice — which can take hours. 

Invoice automation tools use the integration with your accounting system to perform this matching automatically. These tools can even flag any discrepancies for further review.

How to get started with invoice automation

The best invoice automation tools require relatively little effort to get started. Onboarding Glean AI typically takes just four steps:

  1. Add a Glean AI email to your existing AP/invoices@ email group (3 mins)
  2. Connect your General Ledger and Bank (3 mins)
  3. Create your departments and add users (5 mins)
  4. Confirm your vendors-to-accounts GL mapping. Glean AI provides a Google sheet with pre-populated values you can confirm (Under 1 hour, depending on number of vendors)

[Read more: Work Smarter, Faster With Glean AI]

Glean AI provides the tools you need to make accounts payable run more efficiently, cost-effectively, and securely. Implementing invoice automation is an easy way to reduce the time spent manually approving invoices, and instead prioritize more high-value activities in your accounting team.  

To learn more about invoice automation and Glean AI, request a demo, today. 

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