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Accounts Payables

What Is AP Automation, and What Are The Best Practices For It?

Posted on 22/09/2023

AP Automation, and The Best Practices For It:

AP automation, also known as accounts payable automation, is the practice of handling accounts payable operations digitally rather than manually. It has transformed the way businesses handle and pay bills.

Holistic accounts payable automation provides automated business payment processing from start to finish. This begins with software that captures invoice data in a digital format, typically by a scanning or capture method such as optical character recognition (OCR). The AP system then categorizes, matches, and validates data before forwarding it to the accounting system or ERP for processing.

AP automation can offer a corporation considerable cost savings in addition to the projected savings from reducing human activities. Companies may optimize their vendor portfolio, eliminate duplicate or erroneous payments, lower their fraud risk, and benefit from early payment reductions.

In this guide, we’ll break down what AP Automation is, the advantages of automation, and share the best practices to make it work like a charm for your business. Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents

  1. Understanding Accounts Payable Automation
  2. Key Components of AP Automation
  3. Benefits of AP automation
  4. Best Practices for Successful AP Automation
  5. The Future of AP Automation
  6. The ROI of AP Automation
  7. Accounts Payable Automation with Velan

Understanding Accounts Payable Automation

What is AP Automation?

Accounts Payable (AP) automation involves the use of technology to streamline and automate the processes associated with managing supplier invoices, purchase orders, and payments. This automation replaces manual tasks such as data entry, routing invoices for approval, and reconciling payments. AP Automation solutions aim to reduce errors, enhance efficiency, and provide better visibility into financial operations.

What are the challenges with manual accounts payable?

Accounts payable (AP) plays a crucial role in any organization’s finance department. It’s like the engine room, where bills are organized, invoices are kept track of, and payments to vendors are managed. While old-fashioned methods have their strengths, they also come with difficulties that can make things a bit complicated in our fast-moving business world.

Time-consuming manual data entry 

Traditional AP methods rely on people manually typing in information from paper invoices into accounting systems. This isn’t just slow; it’s tiring, especially when there are lots of invoices to handle. Spending long hours on data entry can delay payments, sometimes causing late fees or upsetting suppliers.

Human errors and financial mistakes

Manual processes are prone to human mistakes. These can be as simple as typos, wrong calculations, or accidentally entering the same invoice twice. Correcting these errors means more manual work, and it can harm trust with vendors. Over time, these mistakes can add up, potentially resulting in significant financial losses, unhappy vendors, displeased clients, and problems during audits.

Delays and inefficiencies

Without automation, the entire AP process, from receiving invoices to approval and payment, can be sluggish. It doesn’t help when papers go missing or when someone is away and approval is pending. Delays can lead to missed payment deadlines, resulting in late fees or penalties. They can also mean missing out on early payment discounts.

Difficulty in Tracking and Managing Invoices

Paper-based AP procedures can create a lack of clarity when it comes to managing invoices. Is it approved? Is it still waiting in someone’s drawer? Has it been paid? This can cause communication problems within the organization and with vendors. It can also result in misplaced or lost invoices. A lack of an efficient tracking system can make reconciliations at the end of the month or year a time-consuming chore.

While traditional AP processes have worked for many years, the manual aspect of AP isn’t keeping up with the faster pace of modern businesses. AP automation streamlines operations, reduces errors and enhances transparency, ultimately leading to significant time and cost savings.

Key Components of AP Automation

Invoice Processing

AP Automation begins with the digitization of invoices. Scanning, optical character recognition (OCR), and data extraction tools convert paper invoices into digital formats. This step eliminates manual data entry, reducing errors and processing time.

Document Management

Digital document management systems store and organize invoices, purchase orders, and related documents. Cloud-based storage ensures accessibility from anywhere, enhancing collaboration and security.

Workflow Automation

Workflow automation tools route invoices and payment approvals to the appropriate personnel automatically. This eliminates delays caused by manual routing and speeds up the approval process.

Reporting and Analytics

Robust reporting and analytics tools provide insights into key performance indicators (KPIs) such as invoice cycle times, approval bottlenecks, and payment trends. This data supports data-driven decision-making.

Benefits of AP Automation

Accounts Payable (AP) automation offers numerous benefits to businesses of all sizes. Here are some of the primary benefits:

Improved Efficiency

  • AP automation streamlines and accelerates the entire invoice and payment process. It eliminates time-consuming manual data entry, reducing the chances of errors and delays.

Cost Savings

  • By automating repetitive tasks, businesses can significantly reduce labor costs associated with AP processes. There are also savings in paper, postage, and storage expenses.

Enhanced Accuracy

  • Automation reduces the risk of human error that often occurs during manual data entry. This leads to more accurate financial records and fewer discrepancies.

Faster Processing

  • Invoices and payments can be processed and approved more quickly, leading to shorter payment cycles. Suppliers appreciate faster payments, which can improve relationships and potentially lead to discounts.

Better Cash Flow Management

  • With real-time visibility into payables, businesses can make more informed decisions about cash flow management. This enables them to optimize working capital and make timely payments.

Increased Security

  • AP automation systems often include robust security features like encryption and access controls, safeguarding sensitive financial information from unauthorized access.

Audit Trail

  • Automated systems maintain detailed records of all transactions, providing a clear audit trail for compliance and reporting purposes.

Improved vendor relations

  • Timely and accurate payments can lead to better relationships with suppliers, potentially resulting in more favorable terms and discounts.

Enhanced reporting and analytics

  • Automation provides access to valuable data and analytics that can inform financial strategies and identify areas for improvement in the AP process.


  • AP automation systems are scalable, making it easier to handle increasing transaction volumes as your business grows.

Compliance and Regulatory Adherence

  • Automation can help ensure compliance with tax regulations and financial reporting requirements, reducing the risk of fines or penalties.

Environmental Benefits

  • By reducing the need for paper invoices and checks, AP automation contributes to environmental sustainability by lowering paper consumption and waste.


Best Practices for Successful AP Automation

Establishing clear objectives

Define clear objectives for your AP automation implementation. Identify the specific pain points you aim to address, such as reducing processing time, eliminating errors, or enhancing supplier relationships.

Choosing the Right Software

Select AP Automation software that aligns with your organization’s needs and budget. Consider things like scalability, usability, and integration possibilities.

Data Integration

Integrate AP Automation software with your existing ERP (enterprise resource planning) or accounting systems. Seamless data flow reduces manual data entry and ensures data consistency.

Standardizing Processes

Standardize and document AP processes to ensure uniformity and clarity. This simplifies training for employees and facilitates consistent automation.

Employee Training and Involvement

Invest in training programs to familiarize employees with the new system. Employee buy-in is crucial for successful implementation. Encourage staff to provide comments and suggestions for improvement.

Embracing digital approvals

Move away from paper-based approvals and embrace digital signatures and approvals. This speeds up the process and reduces the risk of lost or delayed documents.

Security Measures

Implement strong security measures to safeguard sensitive financial data. This includes frequent security assessments, access restrictions, and encryption.

Continuous monitoring and improvement

Regularly monitor the performance of your AP automation system and gather feedback from users. Determine where there is room for improvement and make the necessary improvements.

The Future of AP Automation

AI and Machine Learning in AP Automation

The future of AP automation is closely tied to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. These technologies will enable systems to make data-driven decisions, further reducing manual intervention and improving accuracy.

Blockchain and AP Automation

Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize AP automation by enhancing security and transparency in financial transactions. It could become a critical component in ensuring the authenticity of invoices and payments.

The ROI of AP Automation

What is the ROI of AP automation?

Before deciding if you should use an accounts payable automation system, it’s important to think about the benefits it can bring. Figuring out the return on investment (ROI) for AP automation isn’t always easy because it affects many parts of a business, and the savings add up as you use it more.

To understand the ROI of AP automation, you need to consider various points, including both money-related and non-money-related advantages.

The Money-Related Benefits of AP Automation

The exact numbers depend on things like the type of business you have, how much money you bill each month, and how much you spend on the current process. Here are some financial factors to think about:

  1. Less Money Spent on Invoice Processing: You’ll spend less money getting invoices processed because automation makes it faster and reduces the chance of errors.
  2. Fewer Losses from Mistakes: Automation reduces the errors made by people, which can save money and prevent problems with suppliers.
  3. Less time dealing with supplier questions: With automation, you’ll get fewer calls or messages from suppliers asking about payment status.
  4. Better Record of Paying on Time: Automation can help you pay bills on time more often, avoiding late fees.
  5. Time Saved: People won’t need to spend as much time on manual tasks, so they can focus on more important work.
  6. More Discounts for Early Payments: You can take advantage of discounts offered for paying bills early.
  7. Lower Staff Costs: You might need fewer people working on accounts payable tasks.

The Non-Money-Related Benefits of AP Automation

Besides the financial benefits, you should also think about how AP automation can help in other ways:

  1. More Control: Automation gives you better control over your finances and processes.
  2. Smoother Workflows: It makes your processes run more smoothly.
  3. Easier Auditing: Automation makes it simpler to check and verify financial records.
  4. Improved Relationships: It can lead to better relationships with suppliers.
  5. Happier Employees: Automation can make your employees’ work easier and more enjoyable.

Thinking about all these factors and how they relate to money will help you figure out the potential ROI of AP automation for your organization.

Accounts Payable Automation with Velan

By automating invoice processing and payment, Velan’s Accounts Payable Solution saves organizations time, improves control, and boosts productivity. For example, by removing human entry and automatically computing discounts, the program can save the time and effort necessary to process bills. When there are discrepancies between bills and purchase orders, it handles exception processing automatically.

Velan also enables real-time visibility throughout the whole accounts payable process, reducing the possibility of missed invoices or fraudulent invoice payments.

Topics: Accounts Payables

Managing Your Payables And Receivables

Posted on 05/07/2022

Are you having trouble managing your outsourced payables and receivables? We have been there done that! As you know, managing your payables and receivables is the most significant aspect of your business at all stages. You may get overwhelmed with the kind of cash you’d have to handle, and keep everything intact and going. Fret not, below are some really simple techniques you can adopt to disentangle yourself from all the payables & receivables hassles.


Outsourced Accounts Payables:

Managing your payables can be a tricky business. For one, pay all your bills; do not let your unpaid bills linger any longer. The more prompt you are in your payments, the more reliable you become to your suppliers and lenders. Plus, there’s nothing like an unpaid bill that’s a dire threat to the business.

You can take complete advantage of the credit time limit given to you. For example, if your bill is due in the next 20 days, you do not have to pay the bill ahead of your time; rather you can use the cash for something else and pay this bill when it is due.

One other imperative thing you must do is to choose your suppliers wisely. Watch out for the ones that can offer you flexible payment options or the ones that give you good discounts to pay upfront.

Outsourced Accounts Receivables:

Nobody would have any problem running a business if they get paid for their products/ services on time. But that’s the hitch. Not everyone is prompt in their payments. Yet, you can do several things to collect the receivables efficiently:

  • Invoice your customers promptly. Do not procrastinate in sending your invoices, as it is quite obvious that your payment will be procrastinated too.
  • Do not give credit limits to your customers unless they are trustworthy. Enable COD (cash on delivery) for the customers; this will wipe out the painstaking process of following up on payments.
  • Offer lucrative discounts for the customers who are regular with payments. This will also give them a chance to make the payment then and there.
  • You must entail your customers to pay a deposit amount to use a product/ service if the invoice amount is huge.

Managing your payables and receivables can be easier if you outsource this to somebody who is experienced at the same time cost-effective; by outsourcing to reliable hands, you can make use of the opportunity to concentrate on better things like working towards expanding your organization. Contact at +1-860-215-4997 to seek more information on Account Payables and Receivables.

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Topics: Accounts Payables

Top 5 Essential Account Payable Trends to Focus on in 2019

Posted on 29/05/2019

It is rather an accepted norm to view outsourced Accounts Payable services as a traditional mandate. However, each passing year we witness fleeting trends that influence and impact the outcomes of Accounts Payable. As we stand midway across 2019, now is as good a time as any to assess and analyze the strategies and trends that have made a difference this year. With trends and tactics evolving every day, it is highly critical to stay abreast and lead from the front to make a difference.


The forecast of 2019 looks very promising with the substantial impetus provided by today’s technology. However, leveraging these offerings and transforming them into tangible results is what would make all the difference at the end of the day.

Here are the top 5 essential  Account Payable trends to look out for in 2019:

1.Accounts Payable Automation

The crux of the efficiency of Accounts Payable stems from the competence of the invoice routing and data entry. A lot depends on the precision with which these tasks are undertaken. It has also been discovered, in a recent study that the two biggest challenges within Accounts Payable were the manual data entry and the manual dependencies of invoice approval.

In an attempt to increase efficiency, organizations are now transitioning towards automation. Automation would simplify the entire process and eliminate any room for human errors. Automation takes the top spot in terms of the Accounts Payable trends to watch out for in 2019.

Some of the outcomes of automation that can positively impact the business are:

  • Swifter invoice approval rates
  • Reduced processing costs
  • Heightened visibility across the entire AP process
  • Enhanced productivity

2.Using Big Data as Spearhead

How much data does your organization have lying around without being tapped into? It is highly probable that you have enormous amounts of data that you barely feel the need for. The data if appropriately used by the Account Payable teams could be a total game changer. The data can be leveraged to completely transform the process of Accounts Payable in your organization. Big Data is no longer just a buzzword. To stay on top and keep up with evolving trends, it would be quintessential to make good use of the data that you have at your disposal.

An analytical study into the dynamics of the approval of an invoice along with the time taken can help shed greater insights into the overall process. Spend analysis reports can help assess the financial well-being of the organization. This in turn can instate transparency and help improve the cash management.

3.The all-silver Cloud

Every dark cloud has a silver lining, doesn’t it? Now imagine an all silvery cloud… Looking good eh?

Well, studies show that over 58% of large companies use cloud computing. Generally, when a new technology debuts, it brings along varying degrees of cynicism and apprehension. But today, cloud has become the norm. Operating on a subscription-based service model, cloud is also highly cost effective. Records also show that companies that migrated to cloud have shown a growth in revenue by 15%.

The accessibility that comes with cloud can be a real key differentiator. Managers being able to remotely access, review and approve invoices can drastically bring down that time involved. Also, unlike AP software that may periodically require updates, at times even leaving the software temporarily obsolete. Cloud computing also ensures high level of data security.

4.Fraud Prevention

A report tells that about 86% of organizations have had at least one incident of fraud in the past two years. The report also goes on to state that, all the companies, regardless of the incidents hold fort and strengthen their security features consistently. Organizations don’t generally roll back to an older state threatened by these attacks.

The rise of modern computing technologies has almost always been parallelly accompanied by growing threats and vulnerabilities. As 2019 promises to be a big year for Accounts Payable, it is also going to be clouded with the evolving security challenges. These threats, when circumvented can pave way to swifter and more reliable monetizing avenues.

One of the easiest ways to reduce fraud is migrating completely to digital transactions and getting rid of paper checks. It has also been studied that digital transactions are capable of reducing fraud by at least 10 times as opposed to conventional methods. Investing in a fully automated procure-to-pay solution should help voraciously combat fraud.

This could be the year that Accounts Payable finally sheds its cost-centric stature to unveil a more profit centric stature.

5.Evolving Skill set in Accounts Payable

The transition from a technology to another is not as straightforward as it sounds. It doesn’t just take effect after installation of the requisite hardware and software. It involves a lot more than just setting up the system. The demand for new skill sets will necessitate employee training and skill upscaling. From a more manual skill set of data entry the demand would shift over to more cerebral skillsets like data interpretation and business analysis.

Are you ready to streamline you books?

It is also likely that skills like change management, software administration, performance analytics would be prerequisite on the resume’ of an accounts payable manager.


Why Velan?

With a legacy of proven proficiency spanning across a decade, Velan is equipped with a veritable pool of talents and skill sets that cater to the evolving needs of today’s technology driven world.

Talk to our Experts today [CTA] and give your business the smooth sailing it deserves!!!


Citation 1 :  Accounts Payable :

Citation 2: Cloud :

Citation 3: Fraud Prevention :

Topics: Accounts Payables

Improve Accounts Payable Efficiency: 15 Best Practices

Posted on 30/06/2017

Every organization witnesses a skills gap; 75% CEOs feel their in-house team isn’t adept enough to keep up.Keeping that in mind, it is always helpful to define clear, precise and well-defined workflows and practices in every business process. Here are some tips and best practices to Improve Accounts Payable efficieny. A better Procure to Pay process will not only benefit your working capital, cash flow, and vendor relationships but go the extra mile help you to identify areas of savings and compliance. If you’re looking to strengthen your bottom line performance, what better way than to improve liquidity?

So read on, as we enlist 15 best practices to improve accounts payable efficiency (in no particular order), keeping in mind the organizations where the AP function primarily relies on paperwork submissions. We know some companies have already adopted EDI and we’re going to keep this as generic as possible.

  1. Defined Roles and Responsibilities: Assign access rights, or assign specific employees the capacity to add/delete/modify vendors in the vendor master files. Especially in systems that lack the ability to print changes made to the files, this practice can be pivotal in avoiding theft.
  2. Use default settings to your advantage: It is recommended that you default the AP master file configuration to a Vendor Type used most frequently. If your system allows for multiple vendor categories, set access rights in a way that users only above a certain security level are allowed to change the GL code.
  3. Avoid batch entries: Entering each invoice individually, allows for a separate audit trail and that would greatly help in keeping track.
  4. Check the Invoice Dates: Do not let your AP clerks use older invoice dates. Try and understand how your system assigns GL month/year as well. When you generate reports on financial reports for a time period, correct dates will alleviate unexpected results.
  5. Review and reconcile: Compare charges to purchase orders while paying out and perform a monthly reconciliation.
  6. Automation is better: Manual processes such as expense reporting, data entry should be automated for better utilization of your accounting resources. This will also minimize risks and errors.
  7. Try an ERP system: Most of the auditor’s time is consumed in reviewing manual postings owing to an elevated risk factor. This can be eased with the help of an ERP system.
  8. Always compare with original: It is advisable to try and pay against the original invoice but if paying from a copy, compare the invoice number and charges indicated.
  9. Verify W-9: In the year’s end when you organize 1099s, you don’t want to be stuck in a rut. Before initiating payment, verify the vendor has a W-9 file for them.
  10. Invoice number rules: If all your clerks starting entering invoice numbers in the format they please, you’ll be lost for eons; especially if you don’t have an invoice number in hand. Instead, have a policy and educate your clerks on how to enter invoice numbers.
  11. Accountability: Assign and authorize separate people for entering the invoice, approving the invoice and signing the check.
  12. Logging is key: All invoices should compulsorily be addressed to the Accounts Department – this way they can be logged.
  13. Define Budget: It is safer to know your AP team know what the declared budget is, if you are among those who run a lot of cash transactions.
  14. Audit trail is imperative: Even if you don’t plan on paying the entire invoice amount, it would help the audit trail to mark it as billed. At these instances, use credit memos.
  15. Free is good: Discounts and free goods being offered by your vendors is something that could greatly help your accounts. Watch out for these festive promotions and make the best use of them.

Go the extra mile with these best practices, and watch your AP process go above and beyond maintaining operating margins. Velan is a trusted and seasoned Accounts Payable services providers. Velan AP process takes extra care on available free credits, payable days, purchase order mandates, and Accounts Payable cycle efficiency. Accurate Accounts Payable reconciliation plays a vital role in clearing unpaid bills within the stipulated time. Outsourcing your Accounts Payable management to Velan will help you effectively mitigate fines for late bill payments and ensure that you have a streamlined Accounts Payable process flow leading to optimized of profit for your business. Call @ +1-860-215-4997 to know more.

Topics: Accounts Payables

What Do You Gain From Outsourcing Your Procure To Pay Processes?

Posted on 02/02/2017

One of the most popular and favorite segment that is Outsourcing Your Procure To Pay Processes or Accounts Payable processes. It’s pretty simple, why companies do that- P2P processes are completely a transnational one, hence most of the companies would like to free up the time and resources engaged in the P2P process and engage them more in strategic planning for their growth and development. Not only do the companies benefit from the labor arbitrage but also the accessibility to technology, reduced costs, and improved controls.

Accounts Payable - Velan Bookkeeping Services

In the below section we can go through each benefit extensively:

Data digitization & indexing

The need for paper based records have gone down exponentially. Yet there are firms that still operate based on the paper records. BPO companies help you in not just going paperless, but also gain access to your records easily and if you and the BPO have any time difference, you may also have the availability of the records all day every day. BPO companies will extract and index the information of the P2P process and make it available to you.

Improved control

When companies decide to outsource there’s this doubt that every business owner gets at some point in time. Companies are usually skeptical about how they can access their data and check how the service provider performs. Firstly, it is totally up to you to decide the processes to be outsourced. Secondly, BPO companies today employ the advanced technology available to maintain all the operations online. In case something is amiss, the parent company can always raise the issue with the concerned managers. This lets them have complete control over the processes outsourced.

Leverage labor and technology

A good BPO company will ensure that they employ professionals who are proficient in the given field. This gives the parent company a labor arbitrage. Not just employees, outsourcing companies also ensure that they are up-to-date with the latest technology and this gives the parent company to access all the technology available and stay ahead of their competitor companies. They have employees and technology in hand, which often happens to be the go-to point for the parent companies and the benefit the parent company reaps is enormous.

Increased operational efficiency

On one hand, most organizations involving P2P or Accounts Payable deal are the standardization and efficiency lack. On the other, there are these outsourcing companies who focus solely on increasing the operational efficiency of the clients by standardizing and continual improvement of their processes. They will observe your Accounts Payable metrics and revert to you with the report on Key Performance Indicator, which includes the accuracy of the job done, and the time of payments. With these data, you will be able to reduce the problems and exploit opportunities.

Note: It is sensible to outsource to companies that abide by any quality standards like ISO just to ensure that you are delivered with quality work.

Concentrate on core competencies

Basically, when you outsource your Accounts Payable or Procure to Pay processes, you will have ample time to concentrate on your core competencies. The skilled professional, who were initially frittering away time doing some data processing work can devote their talent and time on their core competencies that can develop the business and ensure the growth of your organization.

Should you wish to outsource your Procure to Pay / Accounts Payable processes with the above said qualities, visit or contact at +1-860-215-4997.

Topics: Accounts Payables

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