AP Process Automation

by Rohan Sawant

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At Colas, we believe our future success is dependent on innovation. It may sound like a buzz word for some, but we put a lot of emphasis on innovation. Be it innovation in road construction, building solar roads to produce electricity locally or utilizing cutting edge technology to take control of our Accounts Payable process.

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The former Accounts Payable invoice process was arduous, labor intensive and error prone slowing down the ability to process invoices and pay suppliers in a timely manner. With the idea to reduce cost of data acquisition and eliminate manual entry we looked at fully automating the invoice process using approval workflow and automatic data extraction software.

We began with researching for data capture software, which led to a turnkey application named Abbyy FlexiCapture for invoices, a highly accurate and scalable intelligent data capture engine that automatically captures, classifies and transfers critical data from unstructured and structured documents using machine learning and neural networks. Our end goal with FlexiCapture was to automate data capture, reduce manual efforts and shift focus from manual indexing to verification.

FlexiCapture is just one piece of the puzzle, to fully automate and streamline the Accounts Payable process we are using OnBase workflow for invoice approvals and web services to integrate with our ERP system, JD Edwards, to automatically create vouchers and release them for payment.

Automation can dramatically improve and benefit the Accounts Payable process by significantly reducing the cost of labor, increasing productivity, speeding up invoice cycle time and helping reduce payment errors.