Automated Invoice Processing
Automation Steps, Capabilities, Costs, ROI
ScienceSoft applies 16 years of experience in corporate financial software development and practical knowledge of 30+ industries to help businesses implement effective invoice processing automation.
Invoice Processing Automation in a Nutshell
Invoice processing automation streamlines invoice processing end-to-end – from invoice data capture and validation to invoice approval and routing for payment and invoice posting to the general ledger (GL). Automated invoice processing systems are especially helpful for large companies that need to process a considerable number of paper and digital invoices.
Accounting software, ERP, a cash management system, and more.
6–9 months on average.
$140,000–$400,000, depending on the solution complexity.
A payback period
6 months on average.
Main Invoice Processing Tasks to Automate
Benefit from 80%+ faster invoice approval with an automated multi-department approval workflow and seamless 24/7 remote access for the approval teams.
Employ ML to precisely forecast invoice amounts and inform budgeting. Get AI-based advice on the optimal invoice payment dates to capture vendor discounts.
Invoice processing stats that may surprise you
Ways to Set Up Automated Invoice Processing
There are three main approaches to automating invoice processing, each having its benefits and limitations. Below, ScienceSoft provides a high-level comparison of the three. Within our financial software consulting service, we help define the more feasible option for your needs.
Off-the-shelf invoice management tool
Platform-based invoice processing software
Custom invoice processing system
Implementing market-available A/P invoice management software, which typically enables automated invoice capture and validation and provides invoice tracking dashboards.
Building an automated invoice processing solution of moderate complexity based on a low-code platform, e.g., Microsoft Power Apps.
Building custom automated invoice processing software to get all necessary functional and non-functional capabilities and digitally transform your complex invoice processing flows.
Invoice Processing Automation Software: Key Features
Each automated invoice processing solution ScienceSoft creates has unique functionality to serve client-specific needs. Here, we have outlined the features commonly requested by our customers:
Automated invoice capture
- Support of various digital invoice formats (XML, PDF, digital images, e-invoices, etc.).
- Support of multi-table invoices, multi-currency invoices, multi-page invoices.
- OCR-enabled conversion of paper invoices into a pre-defined digital format.
- Automated invoice scanning and capture of numeric and textual invoice content.
- ML-powered data extraction from digital invoices.
Automated invoice validation
- Automated invoice coding in the general ledger (GL).
- Automated two- and three-way vendor invoice matching (against purchase orders, supplier contracts, goods/service receipts, etc.).
- User-defined thresholds for invoice matching tolerance.
- Rule-based validation of invoice data at the line-item level (invoice number, date, quantity, price, etc.).
- Invoice verification against the pre-set tax rules, region-specific e-invoicing compliance requirements.
- Alerts on invoice exceptions (missed, mismatched or inaccurate data, duplicate invoices, tax variances, etc.) that require manual validation.
Invoice approval automation
- Automated invoice routing for approval.
- Configurable multi-department invoice approval hierarchies (based on invoice amount, invoice type, location, etc.).
- Scheduled email reminders to invoice approvers.
- A complete invoice approval history.
- Automated routing of approved invoices for payment.
Invoice tracking and storing
- Real-time multi-department invoice tracking by validation and approval status, type (PO, non-PO), supplier, period, and more.
- Automated invoice routing for centralized storage.
- Configurable invoice retention and deletion rules.
Invoice processing analytics
- Calculating and tracking essential invoice processing metrics, such as total amount of invoices processed by period, average invoice approval cycle time, total amount of lost cash discounts due to delayed invoice submission for payment, and more.
- Trend analysis to forecast non-PO invoice amounts.
- Scheduled and ad-hoc reports on invoice processing KPIs.
Invoice processing security
- Invoice timestamping.
- E-signing for approved invoices.
- Comprehensive audit trail for invoice-related activities.
- Rule-based and AI-powered detection of digital invoicing fraud.
- Multi-factor user authentication.
- Role-based access control.
A Sample Interface of Automated Invoice Processing Solutions We Create
Main Integrations for the Automated Invoice Processing System
To maximize the efficiency and accuracy of invoice processing workflows, ScienceSoft suggests integrating your solution for invoice management automation with the following back-office systems:
- Accounting software – for accurate invoice data recording in the accounts payable and the general ledger.
- Procurement software – for automated invoice matching with purchase orders generated in procurement software.
- ERP – for automated purchase invoice validation against goods/service delivery receipts.
- Vendor portal – for faster processing of vendor/supplier invoices uploaded from a vendor portal.
- Cash management system – for automated payment of invoices.
- BI solution – for comprehensive invoice data and invoice processing analysis and reporting.
Success Factors for Invoice Processing Automation
ScienceSoft’s experts recommend that the following important factors should be covered to maximize the benefits of automated invoice processing:
to capture and extract relevant data from paper invoices.
to enable invoice tracking and approval on the go.
AI-powered invoice prioritization
for approval and payment to get more favorable payment terms (e.g., discounts for early payments) and maximize cost savings.
to get scalable centralized storage for digital invoices and enable 24/7 remote employee access for fast invoice approval.
Make sure your automated invoice management solution provides compliance with GAAP, IFRS, SOX, GDPR (for the EU), ZATCA requirements (for Saudi Arabia), and other legal frameworks relevant for your case to ensure invoice generation and processing in accordance with the latest regulatory standards.
How to Automate Invoice Processing
Below, ScienceSoft outlines key steps to introduce invoice processing automation:
- Analyze business needs and elicit requirements for invoice processing digitalization.
- Design the functionality, architecture, and tech stack for the automated invoice processing system.
- Plan the project (define deliverables, scope of work, duration, budget, and team composition).
- Develop custom invoice processing software.
- Conduct quality assurance.
- Migrate invoice data from spreadsheets or a previously used invoice management tool.
- Establish integrations with the necessary systems.
- Train employees on applying invoice process automation in their daily tasks.
- Provide continuous support and evolve the solution (optional).
ScienceSoft’s Tech Stack for Invoicing Automation
Implementation Costs for Automated Invoice Processing
Based on ScienceSoft's experience, a custom invoice processing automation system requires $140,000–$400,000 in investments, depending on the solution complexity.
Want to know the cost to implement automated invoicing?
Benefits of Invoice Processing Automation
Annual ROI for a custom automated invoice processing system may reach up to 460%. An average payback period for such a solution is about 6 months.
Complete automation of invoice capture, validation, approval, and payment tasks brings an up to 90% reduction in invoice processing costs due to eliminated employee efforts.
Higher employee efficiency
By automating the invoice processing flow, you free your AP specialists from low-value manual routine, which translates into an up to 4x increase in the team’s productivity.
Faster invoice-to-pay cycle
Automation cuts the time to process an invoice from 45 days to less than 5 days and makes particular invoice-associated operations up to 12x faster.
Early payment discounts
AI-powered suggestions on the optimal invoice payment sequence help prevent payment delays and get vendor discounts, which brings 1–3% cost savings for large enterprises.
Invoice processing automation eliminates human error across the invoice reconciliation and payment planning tasks, leading to minimized invoice and payment discrepancies.
With automated invoice processing, you can easily validate invoices and processing flows against the necessary legal standards. It helps better prepare for financial audits and prevent compliance gaps.
Invoice Processing Automation with ScienceSoft
In financial software development since 2007, ScienceSoft provides all-round services to help companies implement reliable invoice processing automation.
We cooperated with ScienceSoft on the evolution of our Azure-based product for accounts payable management. ScienceSoft was to cover end-to-end development of an intelligent paperless invoice processing module for the product.
The new software module performs stably even under heavy load, which helps provide a high-quality user experience for our customers. ScienceSoft proved to be a reliable tech partner, and we can recommend other businesses to consider ScienceSoft as a software development vendor.
Wadih Pazos, Chief Operating Officer, Paramount WorkPlace
ScienceSoft is a global IT consulting and software development company headquartered in McKinney, Texas. Since 2007, we help businesses implement effective invoice workflow automation. Being ISO 9001- and ISO 27001-certified, we apply a mature quality management system and guarantee full security of our customers' data. If you are interested in getting a robust solution to automate invoices, feel free to turn to ScienceSoft’s team.