Automated AP For ERP & Documents As A Service

It just doesn’t make sense. We have this amazing technology available, and everything we use in order to pay bills faster?

The technology behind AP automation can be used to achieve more and extend productivity to your entire organization. All your important documents can be automated. Not only are they scanned and stored, they are actually automated, eliminating manual data entry and errors. Your team is more productive, your customers are happier, and you save money. This is the idea behind DaaS (Documents as a Service) a product.

Sound too good to be true? Let me tell you how it all started.

Years ago, I met a guy at an ERP user event, and since he bought me a beer, I’ve let him tell me all about AP Automation. Basically, it has this great engine that reads documents and forms and enters data into the ERP system.

My initial response was that it made absolutely no sense to me. You take this powerful technology, and what do you use it to do? Empty your bank account. This is what AP automation does; Pay faster.

There are many other documents that flow in any organization of higher value.

For example, customer requests. We live in a world”Amazon forecast“If I want something and I can’t have it this afternoon, I’m upset. If I can’t have it tomorrow, the world will end. I think that kind of mentality starts to permeate the business world.

It makes sense that the faster you get orders into your systems, the faster they get to the customer, and everyone will be happier. So why wasn’t that automated first?

But whenever I go to one of the annual ERPs, the AP automation vendors are like rabbits, doubling down. Most of them had big booths with a pillow under the rug, so I know they make money. (If you’ve never paid for a trade show booth before, believe me, pillowcases are pretty pricey.)

So I started thinking more about AP automation and asking about it. Here are the industry “secrets” I’ve discovered.

  1. The vast majority of companies that sell AP automation do not create OCR (Optical Character Recognition) engines. They buy it or rent it from someone else and build their own solution around it. (One company I know you heard about was recently sold for a staggering amount of money, however, in reality, they didn’t have their own underlying technology.)
  2. Most of these solutions include the document management and workflow processing that Microsoft Dynamics 365 already has.
  3. This technology is hard to learn and pressures the user to become an “automation expert” in order to “train” the system to correctly recognize the data.
  4. Only one department, AP, gets all the benefits.

So I thought, “Why not use this engine and create more document automation instead of just AP automation?” How difficult is it?

very Difficult. I realized that the reason everyone is committed to AP automation is because optical character recognition and the whole process of reading documents is really difficult. It doesn’t just work like a charm. Also, training people how to use these tools is really hard.

I had three goals:

  1. Eliminate the overhead because really good ERP systems like Microsoft Dynamics 365 already have document and workflow management. There is no need to repeat it.
  2. Automate other documents outside of accounts payable only. Wherever there are high-value documents in the organization, use technology to speed things up as much as possible.
  3. Remove the customer 100% from any contact with technology because technology is hard to learn. The customer does not want to become an expert in the automation tool; They just want it to work. (Think of it this way, you want to eat sausage with beer on a Sunday afternoon, and you don’t want to watch the sausage being made, right?)

And so, this is how we built DaaS (Documents as a Service) product.

With this product, HandsFree has taken a completely different approach to the data capture and automation market for Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions. DaaS includes AP automation but is much more than that.

  • Behind the scenes, we use the latest and greatest OCR technologies.
  • We strip our homemade and homemade document management workflow and use what’s included with Microsoft Dynamics Finance, then complement it with other great Microsoft tools.
  • We add a “Service” layer on top, which means that we take care of “training” the system behind the scenes to recognize the correct results. This includes OCR training (is that an L or a 1 on this model). And ERP related issues like incorrect accounts, missing vendor names, etc…

I think the DaaS product has taken the capabilities of OCR and document management and has completely taken it beyond AP.

  • What documents or forms does your organization frequently process?
  • What document-related processes are slow, cumbersome, and can be automated?

The HandsFree team can help you analyze, improve, and update your business using DaaS and Docs as a Service.

Connect with HandsFree online Or call (937) 563-2535 to start the conversation.

By Peter Joekel, Hands Free, www.handsfree.biz

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