Automate your Accounts Payable process with invoice capture
Zezhang Zhao - Principal Group Manager - Dynamics 365 Finance, Microsoft
Accounts Payable teams around the globe spend hours processing invoices that come from different channels—fax, mail, email, handwritten, and electronic data interchange (EDI). The sheer volume of invoices is a difficult burden to overcome—and the number grows exponentially with the number of office locations. Resource-strained finance teams must manually transfer invoice details to the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. This error-prone process increases finance cycle times, delays closing the books, and prevents timely financial statements. Misplaced invoices and delayed payments cost organizations thousands in lost vendor discounts. Wouldn’t it be great if all that manual work could be automated? With the new invoice capture feature in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance, it can.
Invoice capture automates the entire AP invoice-to-pay process using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies called Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA). With invoice capture, employees scan invoices as they arrive, OCR extracts critical data, and the system matches invoices with purchase orders, identifies exceptions and data errors, and updates financial records. Employees can quickly route coded invoices for approval through workflows that follow rules based on the invoice data and amount.
Invoice capture helps control spending and reduce paperwork
Invoice capture delivers the following benefits:
- Spend control: Automated processing and better audit trails deliver more real-time visibility into spend and better reporting, which results in faster responses to time-sensitive vendor inquiries. This can help your business avoid late bill payments, take advantage of time-based discounts, and accelerate approvals.
- Faster cycle times: Freeing your AP teams from manual data entry reduces errors, trims weeks from the payment cycle, and allows the team to focus on more strategic tasks like improving vendor relationships, optimizing sourcing contracts, and negotiating deeper discounts.
- Paperless AP: Say goodbye to filing cabinets, lost invoices, and printer jams. With a fully digitized process, not only do you reduce your carbon footprint and printing costs, but documents are more secure.
Key capabilities of invoice capture
- Invoice data extraction from multiple channels: Invoice capture offers flexible configuration settings that allow you to automate invoice processing—regardless of how invoices come across your desk, whether they’re faxed, EDI, or even handwritten—and consolidate them centrally for approvals.
- Empowered by AI Builder and Azure Form Recognizer: Invoice capture contains a prebuilt AI model powered by Microsoft AI Builder and Azure Form Recognizer, which can process most invoice formats from all over the world without extra model training effort. The Microsoft AI Builder continuously improves the model.
- Custom AI model for invoice processing: When business complexity prevents the prebuilt model from recognizing an invoice format, invoice capture provides a way to build custom models to supplement the prebuilt model.
- Intelligent and flexible business rule engine: Sometimes the AP team needs more information to make the right decision than the basic details on the invoice. It’s often helpful to have information from the supply chain or bank account details, for instance. Using an intelligent business rule engine, you can define derivations and validation rules to accommodate the complexity of your vendor invoice processing. This helps to streamline the accounts payable automation and relieves the AP team from repetitive work, allowing them to focus on more value-added tasks.