Reaping the ROI of AP Automation


Financial leaders at U.S. companies are delaying payments to suppliers for longer than at any point in the past decade. A new research study estimates that 1,000 of the largest U.S. public companies have a collective $1.1 trillion in supplier payments—payments not yet received from their own customers—and inventories. Some 50 percent of invoices are past their due date this year, compared to 48.8 percent in 2017.

The largest public enterprises took an average of 56.7 days to pay suppliers last year, the longest timeframe in the last decade, and up from 53.3 days in 2016. With the economy gaining steam, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers can no longer have confidence that suppliers will continue to put up with late payments.Reaping the ROI of AP Automation

Many experts claim supplier payment delays are an intentional effort to keep more cash on hand and push the cash flow burden outside of their own organization and onto suppliers. However, a lack of invoice automation—which makes the Accounts Payable wheels grind to a halt in many organizations—is a key reason for late payments. 

Lack of real-time availability of data, inability to process high volumes at current staff levels, and difficulty locating/managing paper-based documents have been identified as top challenges organizations face in AP by industry analyst firm Aberdeen Group, making it ripe for process automation.

Yet, AP is sometimes overlooked as a critical focus of digital transformation—but this is a mistake. For one thing, invoice automation solutions—such as the Docstar AP Automation solution—are easily integrated with existing ERP solutions and/or accounting systems, providing fast return on investment

When used together, the ERP/accounting system and Docstar streamline the day-to-day mission-critical hand-offs to transform AP operations by extracting data from printed/typed documents, eliminating duplicate data entry and making it easy to retrieve data, review invoices, and push them along the AP workflow—automatically. Process efficiencies speed turnaround and ease the pressure on staffing levels, enabling AP departments to handle greater volume and save money. 

What’s more, automating AP enables organizations to pursue strategic initiatives—more precise cash management, improved supplier relations, and better business/data intelligence—and capture early pay discounts, which can contribute substantially to a business’s bottom line. Visit our AP resource site for more information. 


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