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From Weeks to Minutes: AP Workflow Automation

A client transforms their AP approvals process from a cumbersome, risk-laden operation into a streamlined, automated system with DocuXplorer Workflows.

March 26, 2024

Person organizing documents and planning

Eliminate the pain points of manual approvals.

The expense approval-to-payment workflow is a core component of Accounts Payable, and it can be risky as well as a complete time suck. A DocuXplorer client recently decided to automate this process for their AP department.

An industry leader in instrumentation solutions, the company dealt with a high volume of vendor invoices daily, and due to the matrix of people, departments, and levels of authority involved in approvals, they suffered from a highly inefficient process. They needed reliable and cost-effective AP processes that gave them control and accountability over expenses.

From slow and messy…

Within each department, four employees were managing expense approvals, with limits to the amount each could approve. All expenses had to be approved by a lower-tier staff member before proceeding up the hierarchy.

Here is an example of their expense process before implementing DocuXplorer Workflows:

  1. An invoice for $60K comes in. The AP team files the invoice and notifies the Tier 1 manager to approve it. The Tier 1 manager can approve expenses from $0 to $10K.
  2. Once approved, the invoice goes to the Tier 2 manager, who can authorize amounts from $10K-$50K.
  3. Once approved, the invoice is routed to a Tier 3 manager, who can approve expenses from $50-$100K. The Tier 3 manager has received sign-off from the lower tier managers and can now approve the invoice. 
  4. The invoice is approved for payment and refiled.

Not surprisingly, this process would take weeks to complete, with a lot of back and forth and chasing down employees to get approvals. If invoices were rejected at any level, the process started again at the beginning.

Due to the number of people involved, the process was slow and costly. If the company didn’t pay its vendors on time, it paid more.

Inefficient business processes also pose risks. For organizations managing daily or weekly expenditures, these risks can range from minor accounting errors to major overspending, wreaking havoc on the bottom line.

Using DocuXplorer Workflows, the team has automated its approval process with up to four levels of escalated approvals. Their customized system leverages AI and OCR technology to identify the amount on each invoice and immediately route it to the appropriate team members, a process aligned with the organization’s specific needs and unique taxonomy.

The complete workflow happens within minutes, giving the AP department more time for other high-value tasks.

“This saves them time in micro-managing themselves, and they get discounts if they pay on time,” says Sara Smith, the company’s Client Advocate at DocuXplorer. “So not only is there a monetary benefit from everyone not having to follow up with one another, but they also gain some value from their vendors.”

…to fast and secure

The client now benefits from a fast-tracked expense approval process. Powered by workflows, the company enjoys frictionless information sharing and streamlined decision-making.

AP managers can monitor everything in a simple DocuXplorer workflow folder and receive alerts if any tasks are overdue, anticipating potential issues before they happen. The system sends reminders to those with invoices to approve, and if they don’t respond, a notification goes up the chain to a higher authority, keeping everyone accountable.

The department can also continuously monitor workloads by analyzing task distribution and locating bottlenecks. The result is a happier team supported by a system tailored to its needs.

Your ticket to freedom

“The concept of business process management - the value that it brings to clients - is in things not falling off the table. There is a specific process people have to follow, and if the workflow is designed properly, it should never end until the process is complete. There is accountability because there’s an audit trail associated with the workflow,” says Sara.

By leveraging AP automation with DocuXplorer, organizations can:

  • Build customized workflows with an easy-to-use designer
  • Track tasks as they progress
  • Escalate overdue tasks
  • Empower departmental and organization-wide collaboration and accountability
  • Save time and money

AP automation sets companies up for success in the short and long term. Within all the functions that teams complete daily are workflows waiting to be optimized through automation.

Break free from time-consuming, repetitive work. Enhance your mission-critical business processes, reduce risk, save time and money, and support your business’s growth.

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