What Does Automation Of Accounts Payable Mean? 

Having a seamless process for the accounts payable cycle to pay your invoices on time is important both for your credit score and for your reputation. If your payments are delayed, for whatever reason, this poses a great risk to your supply chain, as it might lead to exclusion from buying what you need to produce and deliver what you sell. 

Automation of the accounts payable cycle alleviates many of the pains associated with having a manual process. Let’s have a look at what automation means. 

Say Goodbye To Repetitive, Manual Tasks

Traditional, manual handling of invoices is a tedious, repetitive, and error-prone process with many steps that involve moving invoice data from one place to the other, whether it be through manual data entry or sending an invoice to somebody’s inbox for approval. 

Other manual tasks, like matching incoming invoices with purchase orders, getting approval from the right person, and moving invoices into the ERP system for payment and bookkeeping, are additional steps where things might go wrong. 

When these manual steps are automated into a digital workflow, what you get is an automagic process where your inbound invoices are handled with little human interference. In other words, you can say goodbye to repetitive, manual tasks. 

Manual Data Entry Will Be History 

When you automate your accounts payable process, manual data entry will be history. E-invoices will be sent directly into the system, and PDF invoices will be automatically picked up from whatever inbox it has been sent to, read and interpreted, and sent into the same workflow as the e-invoices you receive. It is also possible for vendors to connect to a portal to create and send invoices directly to you. 

Secure Location In The Cloud

Automated systems for the accounts payable cycle are kept securely in the cloud, so you can access your data anywhere, anytime. 

Intuitive User Interface /UX

With a focus on an intuitive user experience in the automation system, learning the ins and outs becomes an easy task for users. 

Mobile-friendly – Invoice Approval Will Never Be Late Again 

To ease the use of approvers, an automated invoice workflow system at most times will have a mobile client where approval of invoices can be done on the go. This makes you less vulnerable to users being away, traveling, or at home working. The user gets notifications from the system by mail and can open the mobile client directly from the link in the mail, making it easily accessible on the go.  


As your business grows, the automated system automatically grows with you. Whether it is about processing 20.000 invoices a year, or 1.000.000 – the system can do the job without operational costs growing proportionally. 

Automation With AI

In addition to setting up rules in the system, AI is being widely used to recognize and retrieve invoices from mailboxes, and also to make new rules and suggestions to the user based on what is usually done with a certain type of invoice from a specific vendor. This way, repetitive invoices where the amount and company are the same over and over, can be automatically approved by the system, unless there are irregularities, in which case the invoice will be sent for human processing and approval anyway. 

Automatic Matching With Purchase Orders

When an invoice is received, it can be automatically matched with the purchase order, making it easy to trace your accounts payable from purchase to pay.

What Does The Touchless Invoice Process Look Like? 

Invoice is received

There are several ways an invoice can be received, usually either by e-invoicing or through 

Automated PDF retrieval from inboxes that are interpreted automatically by the system and sent into the invoice flow. 

Invoice Flow

The invoice flow follows rules that have been set up and also will use AI to suggest setting up new rules when it picks up regular patterns in the content and approval of invoices. The flow will send the right invoice to the right person for approval.  

Invoice Approval

The right approver receives notification that there are invoices to approve, and approves the invoice with the correct account, sending it back to the system for further processing and payment. 

Payment and Bookkeeping

Integration with your ERP system is necessary to allocate expenses correctly and retrieve information about the suppliers. Also, integration allows you to access information about the terms of your suppliers, and the accounting dimensions used in the accounting system. Once an invoice has been allocated and approved, it will be transferred to the accounting system for bookkeeping and payment. 

Archives and Reports are Available On-demand

Digital archives of everything happening in your accounts payable system are kept securely in the cloud, readily available for audits by authorities. Also, whenever you need a report with insight into your accounts payable, you have it at your fingertips, making it possible to discover trends and bottlenecks.

The Future is Automated!

The future of the accounts payable cycle is automation, and the best way to scale your processes is through automation. Without it, you will fall behind, and end up spending too much on operational costs. Also, automation brings deep, data-driven insights into the cycle. Can you afford NOT to automate?

Want to learn more about how artificial intelligence can make invoice management easier? Check out this episode of Sofa Talks, where we provide insights into the power of AI in automating Accounts Payable. We also explore and debunk 7 common myths about AI-based invoice processing.