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ARM Guide to Accounts Payable Automation

Despite the advancement of technology to streamline and automate the Accounts Payable (AP) process, many organisations continue to manually process paper or emailed invoices. The front-end of the process, involving invoice receipt, data entry and exception management causes the most frustration to Accounts Payable staff. A high number of inquiries, disputes and exceptions tie up valuable AP resources and add to the frustration. From a business perspective the high use of resources in this fundamental and critical process is constantly seen as inefficient and requiring optimisation.

From numerous studies conducted, it is reported that the cost and effort can be categorised in four main categories, of which the physical handling of invoices and data entry is by far the area of most concern.

Reported % of effort and cost associated with the Accounts Payable process
20%Supplier master management, Pre-processing, verification and approval
42%Physical Processing
22%Discrepancy resolutions and Inquiry activities
16%Payment, Archive/ retrieve and compliance

Organisations that have adopted a high degree of standardisation and automation to the AP process have achieved significant cost reductions in the order of $10 reduced to $2 per invoice processed. Invoices are captured on receipt and tracked through the approval process resulting in fewer lost / missing invoices and reduced supplier enquiries, making the AP staff more productive and less frustrated in performing this essential business function.

From a procurement and financial management position, the lack of visibility and the extended receipt-to-pay cycle presents its own issues and problems.

Lack of Visibility

Financial managers are unable to accurately forecast the organisation's liabilities for the period, and often have to maintain excess cash and/or hedge funds resulting in increased working capital tied up to meet the contingency.

Extended Receipt-to-payment Cycle

A long invoice receipt-to-pay cycle, which for many companies is well over 20 days, means less flexibility in managing payment dates and negotiating early payment discounts if offered by suppliers. Organisations that have adopted automation can achieve a cycle time of less than 5 days.

Compliance and Reporting

In a paper based environment, the effort and costs associated with reporting, storing and retrieving information is a key factor in the overall Accounts Payable process. Meeting corporate compliance and statutory regulations is significantly more difficult than having the information easily accessible through an electronic archive.

ARM AP automation Solution Description

ARM AP Automation solution tackles the issues described above by replacing the manual steps of the process with an automated process. This solution covers the end-to-end process starting with receiving an invoice and ending when the invoice is ready to be paid. This solution includes automating the capture process, providing a search/retrieval archival for invoices and automating the approval process of an invoice. ARM AP Automation provides a seamless integration with other business systems such as ERP or document management systems.

Solution Components and Benefits

1. Invoice Capture

Features and Functionalities:

  • To streamline the collection of invoices from different sources such as email, fax, hardcopy etc.
  • To extract the required meta-data from invoices (ABN, invoice number etc).
  • To manage multipage invoices and separate invoices automatically.
  • To validate the extracted data automatically.
  • To integrate with other components and business systems.


  • Reduce cost and delay by reducing efforts required to collect and prepare/sort invoices.
  • Reduce cost and delay by reducing the manual data entry and validation of information.

2. Invoice Archival

Features and Functionalities:

  • To provide a web based tool for coding and approving invoices.
  • To automate the assignment of approvers.
  • To automate the matching of purchase orders and contracts against invoices.
  • To provide a complete history of all activities related to the invoice approval.


  • Reduce cost and delay by reducing effort to match invoices with purchase orders and contracts.
  • Reduce cost and delay by reducing effort to assign invoices for coding and approval.
  • Improve compliance with regulations by recording all events and activities throughout the process.
  • Improve compliance with regulations by locating invoices and their status anywhere in the process.

Solution Comparisons

ARM AP Automation solution is available in two different packages. This packaging enables ARM to help all organisations reduce cost and delay irrespective of their size or volume of invoices. Following chart provides a comparison for these two packages.

⊕ Capture Hardcopy
⊕ Capture Softcopy
Automatic Validation
No Intelligent Data Extraction
No Automatic Separation
No Line Item Extraction
Search and Retrieval
No PO Matching
No Automatic Workflow
No Advance Configuration
No Manual PO Matching
No Contract Matching
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⊕ Capture Hardcopy
⊕ Capture Softcopy
Automatic Validation
Yes Intelligent Data Extraction
Yes Automatic Separation
Yes Line Item Extraction
Search and Retrieval
Yes PO Matching
Yes Automatic Workflow
Yes Advance Configuration
Yes Manual PO Matching
Yes Contract Matching
Contact Us now for personalised demo!

ARM Advantages For Delivering APA Solution

ARM has been assisting its customers in automating their business processes and achieving significant ROIs for the past 15 years. ARM has helped many customers reduce cost and delay in their accounts payable process.

ARM specialises in all 3 components of AP automation (capture, archival and approval). This specialty in all areas of AP automation is one of ARM’s strongest competitive advantages in the market.

ARM has partnered with well-known industry vendors such as EMC, Basware, OpenText and Autonomy. This enables ARM to select the best of brand products to be used in its solutions.

ARM is an independent advisor who can simplify the customer’s task of selecting the best products by frequently investigating the available products and introducing them to its customers.

ARM is a one stop shop for organisations which require consultancy services for developing a strong business case, selecting and designing a suitable solution, implementing and delivering the solution as well as supporting and maintaining it.

Customer Reference


Repco, a business unit of the Exego Group, is Australia and New Zealand’s largest reseller and supplier in the automotive parts aftermarket.

With invoice processing undertaken in each of Exego’s branches, inefficiencies were rife. In Australia alone, we had 300 processing sites, five distribution centres and various regional offices,” said Kevin Lythgo, Group Manager – Treasury Services, Exego Group. “About one-third of our network processed invoices well and on time, one-third processed invoices fairly well and about on time and one-third were administratively challenged.”

The organisation needed a system that would ensure visibility of invoicing and receipting errors, as well as streamline administration and enable the branch network to focus on selling. In 2007, after an extensive review of the market, ARM was selected to supply a data capture, workflow and content management system that integrated a range of software products from leading suppliers.

Deploying the new system has enabled Exego to improve productivity across its branches by reducing the resources allocated to administrative tasks.

The organisation’s tracking and forecasting tools indicated the solution had contributed to improvements in sales performance. Our branch employees have really been able to get out and get on with the job of selling services to customers,” said Lythgo.

How can we help?

Tel:  (02) 9957 1507
Fax: (02) 9954 1878

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