We all know that purchasing goods and paying invoices can be a laborious process using a mix of people processes and technology. In recent years regulatory compliance has added layers to the process by requiring documented processes that segregate duties and have standardized steps that provide checks and balances. All under the watchful eye of auditors and regulators.
While current automation has somewhat addressed this, there is still a high degree of manual labor and repetitive processing associated with each purchasing, Accounts Payable and employee expense transaction. Wikipedia uses the term “Clerical process automation” and this is the key to next generation P2P solutions.
Much like how robotics and process automation has greatly improved manufacturing and “just in time” inventory processes, RPA can take current repetitive tasks and routine functions and eliminate human touchpoints. Think of how fast a modern automobile is assembled and painted on an assembly line and how much the quality has improved by the use of robotics.
The P2P process is very much an assembly line. Raw materials such as purchase requisitions and purchase orders are assembled in order to provide a basis for a goods receipt to be accurately entered creating a path for the subsequent payment of the suppliers invoice.
I think it is fair to suggest that if automobiles can be produced all or in part by robotics, companies around the world can robotically process business transactions creating faster throughput and higher data quality while reducing the cost of the “finished goods”, which include accounting entries in and payment by the company’s ERP.
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