Invoice Automation

How to Use Emailed Invoice Automation to Remedy AP Headaches

Learn about the benefits and challenges of automating the handling of emailed invoices.

Invoices can quickly pile up, becoming a source of dread for your AP team and cash-flow problems for your business. Lost in a sea of paperwork, important details slip through the cracks. This often leads to delayed payments, strained vendor relationships, and even lost profits.

Emailed invoice automation is a revolutionary approach to simplifying invoice processing, offering improved speed and accuracy without the need to scale your workforce. Here’s what you need to know about automated invoice management and how it’s helping businesses like yours achieve unprecedented efficiency. 

Why Manual Extraction is So Inefficient for Invoice Data

Manually extracting data from emailed invoices can be challenging for various reasons. First, there’s the potential for mistakes. Manual data entry is highly error-prone. Estimates reveal an error rate of 1 to 5 percent, which can represent a large portion of lost money for organizations. Manual processes can also lead to delays. Invoices may get lost in an employee’s inbox or under a stack of papers, resulting in missed payments and unhappy vendors. 

Conexiom’s fully automated email management solution allows AP teams to process invoices quicker and more accurately. You don’t have to print invoices; the originals can be attached to the ERP. Conexiom also empowers users to take advantage of early payment discounts, giving them complete visibility into invoices, their due dates, and receipts if and when available. 

Woodhill Supply implemented Conexiom to automate the entry of their AP invoices, scaling operations without the need to hire any additional workforce. They were able to streamline how invoice data is entered into Epicor Eclipse, freeing up their existing AP team to focus on more critical activities.

“Our AP person can spend a lot more time digging into issues that ultimately saves the company money because she can track down any inconsistencies within invoices, work with our receiving group to be able to pinpoint anything that may have been back ordered that wasn’t necessarily labeled as back ordered on invoices, and find a lot more time to make sure that we aren’t paying more than we need to at that time.”

Josh Laston, Controller

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How Emailed Invoice Automation Works

Emailed invoice automation relies on a structured, systematic process with reliable accuracy rates. The most successful solutions limit the amount of human intervention required to ensure accuracy. 

Conexiom is the only solution on the market that automates the invoice process with little to no intervention required. Conexiom’s automated email solution performs a 2-way match between invoices and the PO in the ERP by extracting data with 100% accuracy and validating the documents against each other. If the validations are successful without exceptions, the invoice is delivered directly to the ERP for the 3-way match process with the receipts. If exceptions are present, the AP team can then resolve those alerts before delivering the invoices to the ERP. 

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the AP invoice automation process. 

1. Receive Emailed Invoice

First, emailed invoices are auto-detected and processed by the platform. 

2. Extract Data

Once the items are processed, relevant data is extracted. Conexiom doesn’t use optical character recognition (OCR) except for invoices received as images, so there’s no need for human intervention in verification. Instead, the Conexiom platform extracts data with 100% accuracy and validates it against the purchase order before invoice delivery. This process allows for clear indications of where the invoice doesn’t match the PO and where the invoice doesn’t match the receipt. 

Further, Conexiom depends on the ERP as the source of truth, unlike competitors, facilitating 3-way match, receipt discrepancy review, and the attachment of the original invoice.

3. Identify Data Fields 

The precise identification and classification of data fields—such as vendor details, amounts, dates, and line items—is crucial. Accuracy is vital for ensuring the integrity of financial records and facilitating seamless payment cycles.

Conexiom’s solution provides highly accurate data field identification. The platform leverages advanced AI-assisted mapping and adaptive templates to ensure that the required fields on incoming invoices are accurately identified and classified. This level of accuracy is essential for maintaining the integrity of financial records and facilitating seamless payment cycles.

4. Apply Business Rules, Logic, and Lookups

Automating invoice management requires predefined business rules and logic to be applied to the extracted data. To do this, Conexiom uses 3 different layers: global logic, vendor-specific logic, and product/SKU-specific logic. 

Conexiom offers a fully managed service involving close collaboration between our team and the AP team. We build the templates with the AP team and incorporate the business rules and logic identified by the AP managers during implementation. Using lookups and validations to cross-check data against established records helps maintain accuracy and prevent discrepancies in the automated processes.

Conexiom’s unique implementation process entails intense workshop sessions for 6 weeks during which we map and push vendors into production. Notably, this high-intensity process helps to drive ROI within the first 4 weeks. 

5. Transform Data

Finally, the data is transformed into an output format for consumption by the ERP or other systems. Conexiom can transform data in various ways depending on the existing format and availability. For example, Conexiom can host cross-reference tables if the data is static. For vendor IDs with a 1:1 ratio, hard coding logic is recommended, and API connections are best for frequently changing data and validating data that already lives in the ERP, such as purchase orders.

6. Push Data to System of Record

Next, the extracted information is delivered to an ERP or accounting software through API integration or direct database entry. The data is then populated into corresponding fields within the system of record. 

This seamless transfer creates a new record and initiates matching and verification processes against POs and receipts. It essentially sets the stage for subsequent payment processing without the need for manual data entry, thereby boosting efficiency and reducing the risk of human error.

Automate Your Invoice Management With Conexiom

Organizations today are processing more invoices than ever, often spending excessive time trying to do everything by hand. Automation has become part and parcel of modern business operations, and by using invoice automation tools, companies can remain efficient and competitive in the digital age.

The Conexiom platform makes it easy to manage invoices, offering the following benefits:

  • Increased operational efficiency
  • 100% data accuracy
  • Custom process configuration and advanced AI algorithms

Conexiom helps companies like yours automate invoice management to increase scalability and improve profits. Mid-State Supply partnered with Conexiom to scale without hiring. In doing so, they automated AP invoice processing with 100% accurate data extraction. They also freed their AP team to focus on other tasks, increased their overall efficiency and scalability, and integrated with popular ERPs like Eclipse. 

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