• Irina Kavchik

8 benefits of automated invoice approval process with Ocerra

The core purpose of the invoice approval process is to protect your business’s cash flow. It involves reviewing and approving supplier invoices before the payment is processed in your accounting or ERP system. That is easier said than done.

Usually, companies have internal rules that determine who can approve certain types of invoices as well as how to do so and up to what amount limit. For example, an IT manager may approve all the IT related invoices up to a specific amount. For anything above this amount, it must be approved by the CFO or/and CEO.

However, manual, paper-based invoice approval lacks control and visibility, gives no data insights, and increases the risk of fraud. As a result, securing the company's cash becomes a challenging task for the finance team.

Automated invoice approval is paperless approval that brings a wealth of benefits to your accounts payable process.

Ocerra offers eight distinct benefits to the approval process:

1. Full control and visibility with audit trail

Invoices are automatically captured and routed to the right people for approval based on your internal business rules. Each supplier invoice is enrolled in the digital workflow, providing visibility in every step of the process. Audit trails allow you to identify bottlenecks and take action accordingly.

Example of workflow log in Ocerra

2. Speedier procure-to-pay cycles

Invoice approval is an essential part of any procure-to-pay process (P2P). Ocerra automatically matches purchase order information with the invoice, including description, amount, quantities, and receipted items. Having all the information readily available allows simplifying the decision-making process in complex P2P scenarios.

Example of the PO line matching with invoice lines

3. Instant search & quick access

Finding a paid invoice in a pile of paper is less disconcerting compared to tracking an unpaid invoice in the middle of the approval process. Either way, when invoices are electronically captured and securely stored in the digital format, it is much faster and easier to locate them. All you need is internet access.

Instantly find any invoice or supplier info

or filter to access report view:

Filter data to build instant reports

4. Improved supplier relationships

At every step of the approval process, there is an option to add comments or internal notes. This allows you to quickly update and communicate with your suppliers, and if any action is required from their side. Visibility and a reduced P2P cycle ensure you make all your supplier payments on time. Therefore, developing long-term relationships with your suppliers.

Example of information provided on each invoice

5. Reduced fraud risks

Only authorised persons can view and approve invoices; in turn, Ocerra's audit trail creates full transparency into each action over the invoice document. Invoices are verified by single or multi-stage approval procuresses, including Ocerra’s validation tools. This makes it much easier to spot any suspicious invoices.

Example of audit trail in addition to workflow log history

6. Evading duplicated or lost invoices

Keeping track of all your incoming invoices in one place brings efficiency up and headaches down. Duplicates are auto-detected if other invoices with the same supplier and tax number are already in the system. Missed or lost invoices are no longer an issue.

Example of duplicated invoice search

7. Increased employee productivity

Time-consuming approver follow-ups to sign off on invoices is an inefficient use of resources. Moreover, it distracts from core employee activities. With digital approval workflow in place, invoices are distributed to the right people automatically or assigned directly in the process. For instance, if an approver is sick or if the same invoice should be approved by a different person, it can be rerouted on the spot.

Example of advanced workflow management - assign a new approver option

8. Data insights

When all the invoice details and “footprints” are captured, your finance team can pull up any data to pinpoint issues or opportunities. For example, you can see overdue invoices or suppliers that charging you the most at a specified period. With all the data available and a good track of suppliers, you can improve your organisation's cash flow management and forecasting.

With Ocerra, you can use any business intelligence tool to build custom reports. Here is an example using PowerBI and Excel integrations for report building.

Automated invoice approval process protects your cash flow and brings efficiency to your organisation. To learn more about AP automation and invoice approval in Ocerra, get in touch with our team.

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