Every company has an accounts payable process, because every company needs to buy and sell in order to stay in business. A paper-intensive process, Accounts Payable departments ensure the timely and accurate payments of all invoices owed to suppliers. According to a 2011 Aberdeen Group study, the industry average to process one paper invoice from requisition through payment takes about 10 days and costs $12. But applying an Electronic Document Management solution enables businesses to cut paper management costs by streamlining invoice processing and payment automation. This in return, allows your accounting department to get more done, while utilizing fewer resources.

SmartSearch Document Management gets the job done. Its modular design allows users to automate the entire AP process, from the initial quote to issuing a purchase order, invoice receipt and final payment. SmartSearch securely stores all existing and incoming company documents so that AP information is readily available from anywhere, at any time.

What happens when your company grows from 100 invoices a day to 150? Will this growth cause strain on your current accounting workforce? Will you have to hire additional help? Where will you store these extra documents? Implementing a document management system eliminates the worry. By automating a digital AP process, there is no need to increase staffing. In fact, your current accounts payable department will find that daily tasks are simplified, allowing staff members to repurpose their time for responsibilities of higher importance.

Plus with SmartSearch, your AP staff can say goodbye to file cabinets. The digital repository is accessible directly on each user’s individual desktop and all associated documentation can be automatically indexed into a specific Accounts Payable Archive. Password protected permissions make the AP Archive available strictly to those who handle payment processes. Every time an invoice is received, SmartSearch will automatically capture that information and route the document directly into the Accounts Payable Archive.

Built-in automated invoice processing tools allow SmartSearch to habitually store and link purchase orders with packing slips and invoices to complete the three-way matching process. By simply searching for a PO number, vendor name, or any other related keyword data, all documents associated in that three way match will immediately pop-up, providing users with the convenience of immediate verification.

SmartSearch also reduces error-prone manual indexing to ensure no document is lost or misfiled. Integrated Optical Character Recognition (OCR) intelligently indexes documentation to automate the data entry process. Improve the way supplier invoices are processed by automatically capturing and indexing invoices the moment they are received to guarantee payments are accurate and timely.

Invoices can be captured into the system via drag n’ drop, hot folder monitoring, email or even scanned via a Multifunctional Product (MFP). Once captured, that invoice can be automatically routed for approval, using a defined workflow. Document workflows accelerate invoice processing and improve collaboration by providing a step-by-step view of the complete purchase-to-pay process. During the workflow process users can easily annotate invoices with approval stamps, highlighting or even apply electronic signatures. Managers are automatically notified when an invoice is in need of approval for payment, helping them to keep track of invoice status.

SmartSearch also seamlessly integrates with financial applications, including QuickBooks®, through powerful collaboration tools. Plus, the advanced search capabilities of Square 9’s Image XChange allows users to instantly access a document within SmartSearch from an outside application. Image XChange reads data from an application and uses it to search the SmartSearch Archives to immediately find associated documents. This allows your accounts payable staff to directly access a vendor invoice while working within their native financial application.

How often are you being assessed late payment fees? Are you able to take advantage of early payment discounts? SmartSearch can help your business avoid late payment penalties and qualify for early payment rewards. Instantly enhance communication with vendors by responding to payment inquires in real time while eliminating the risk of overpayment from manual filing errors. An effective accounts payable strategy is essential to maintaining strong vendor relationships by bringing payment processes under close control.

SmartSearch is renowned for enabling confidentiality and compliance company-wide. Incorporated document history and audit trails automatically create reports on all document views and modifications so users can track all document changes to abide by Sarbanes-Oxley compliance regulations. Check-in/Check-out document versioning features aim to heighten document security by ensuring purchase order, packing slip and invoice activities are managed strictly by those managing general ledger activity.

SmartSearch transforms your AP department to eliminate the physical paperwork accumulated from purchase through payment. Automate your manual accounts payable process for improved payment decisions and scheduling. SmartSearch Document Management dramatically reduces costs, equipment and storage requirements revolving around physical paper management.

Accounts Payable management is significant because companies must buy to sell. Consequently, Accounts Receivable is equally important. Stay tuned for next week’s addition to the How Document Management Makes Your Business More Efficient blog series: Part II. Accounts Receivable.

A version of this article originally ran on  Square-9’s blog.