Why Your Accounts Payable Department Should be Paperless

3 min read
March 16, 2023

Table of contents

In today's digital era, businesses are moving towards digital transformation. From automating their processes to going paperless, companies are adopting new technologies to streamline their operations and drive growth. Accounts payable (AP) departments play a significant role in ensuring the smooth functioning of any organization. However, most AP departments still use manual processes that require lots of paper documents, which can often slow down operations and cause errors.

Going paperless is not just an eco-friendly option but also a smart business strategy. Eliminating paper-based processes will boost productivity, reduce errors and costs, improve supplier relationships, and increase efficiency. In this article, we'll delve deeper into why AP departments should embrace digital transformation and go paperless, focusing on scanning purchase orders, invoices, shipping documents, and automating the matching and approval process.

Scanning Purchase Orders

The purchase order (PO) is a crucial document that initiates the procurement process. Traditionally, purchase orders were created manually, printed out, and sent to suppliers via mail, fax, or email. This process is not only time-consuming but also prone to errors, including data entry mistakes or lost documents. By scanning purchase orders, businesses can eliminate these issues and gain many benefits.

A digital purchase order system speeds up the procurement process, enables real-time tracking of orders, provides accurate data, and reduces the risk of errors. Moreover, scanning POs ensures that businesses have a central repository of all purchase orders, making it easier to track and analyze purchasing activities accurately.

Scanning Invoices

Invoices are critical documents that businesses need to process promptly to maintain good supplier relationships. Manual invoice processing involves several steps, including data entry, matching with purchase orders and receipts, getting approvals, and payment processing, among others. This process can take time, especially if there are discrepancies or disputes between parties, leading to late payments or missed discounts.

By digitizing invoices, businesses can automate the entire process, from data extraction to payment processing. Automated invoice processing involves scanning invoices, capturing data fields, verifying them for accuracy, and routing them to the appropriate channels for review and approval. This process streamlines the accounts payable process, eliminates manual errors, and reduces turnaround time.

Scanning Shipping Documents

Shipping is an integral part of the procurement process. Shipping documents such as packing slips, delivery receipts, and bills of lading, provide evidence that goods have been delivered successfully. Typically, these documents are paper-based, and customs regulations often require original copies, leading to delays and increased costs.

Scanning shipping documents and storing them electronically allows businesses to track goods in real-time, ensures compliance with customs regulations, and eliminates the need for physical storage space. Electronic shipping documents facilitate easy access, sharing, and retrieval of information, enabling businesses to respond quickly to queries or disputes.

Automating the Matching and Approval Process

The matching and approval process is a critical point in the accounts payable process. Businesses need to ensure that they match invoices with the corresponding purchase orders and receipts before processing payments. Traditionally, this process has been done manually, leading to errors and delays.

With digital transformation, businesses can automate the matching and approval process, saving time and reducing the risk of errors. Automating the process involves scanning invoices, extracting data, and comparing it with purchase orders and receipts. This process ensures that businesses only pay for goods or services they have received, reducing the likelihood of fraud or overpayment.


Digital transformation is no longer an option for businesses; it's a necessity.

Accounts payable departments play a vital role in ensuring that companies run efficiently, hence the need to digitize their processes. Scanning purchase orders, invoices, and shipping documents can help businesses eliminate paper-based processes, speed up operations, and reduce costs.

Furthermore, automating the matching and approval process ensures that businesses pay the correct amounts for goods and services received, increasing efficiency and building trust with suppliers. Therefore, AP departments should embrace digital transformation and go paperless for a more efficient and sustainable future.

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