The ROI of switching from manual to autonomous invoice processing

Alexander Hagerup

Alexander Hagerup

Co-founder & CEO

Autonomous invoice processing uses AI to run the accounting process from beginning to end, which means less time and money per invoice.

September 2, 2022

5 min read

The ROI of switching from manual to autonomous invoice processing

As organizations build more digital literacy and skills, automation technology has become a must-have regardless of industry. With automation in place, businesses can free up and better allocate resources toward areas of greater value, such as providing better-informed, data-driven strategic input or innovative ideas.

According to recent research by Gartner, 50% of B2B invoices will be processed and paid without manual intervention by 2025. Quickly getting the correct invoice to the right person is essential to keep processing cycle times as low as possible. This leads to fewer errors, late payment fees, and more time for AP teams to optimize financial operations.

Common invoice mismatches alleviated by autonomous invoicing

Not all invoices are created equal, which is why invoice processing can be so tedious. By having a so-called Intelligent Accounts Payable Invoice Automation (APIA) solution, the system has the ability to understand what is wrong with the invoice and who the correct person is to solve the problem. 

These are some of the most common reasons for a mismatch between the invoice and the purchase order, which is time-consuming unless it can be alleviated by autonomous invoicing.

  • Pricing discrepancies at the line level or for the total invoice
  • The supplier’s name is unknown or not identifiable
  • Invoice quantities do not match the purchase order
  • Tax or other surcharges added to the invoice but are not on the purchase order
  • Missing or differing part numbers
  • Incorrect purchase order reference information on the invoice
  • A nonexistent purchase order for an invoice
  • Invoices that cover multiple purchase order

APIA solutions with built-in AI are driving higher autonomous match rates, as it’s using machine learning to train the AI to perform better out of the box than a simple rule -or template-based solution. Intelligently dealing with mismatches through automation leads to shorter approval times and correct financial coding, among other benefits described below.

ROI from process improvements

Autonomous invoice processing uses AI to run the accounting process from beginning to end. AI technology can extract the number on an invoice, understand and classify the cost, send it to the right person for approval, or automatically approve it if it meets all the criteria.

In other words, with autonomous invoicing, the company needs to spend less time per invoice, directly impacting the cost per invoice processed. There are, however, other benefits as well in terms of process improvements:

  • More effective payment execution
  • Prevention of late fees
  • Increased capture of discounts
  • Reduced costs related to paper invoices
  • Less cost deriving from errors
  • Improved employee productivity and fewer full-time employees required

So, how does that translate into real money? By taking the average invoice processing time from ten minutes to one minute, the average cost per invoice goes from $12 to less than $2. Compare productivity and costs with no automation, vs and end-to-end automation in the graphs below.

No automation/ end to end automation graphs

One of Vic’s clients, HSB Real Estate, has, as of June 14th, 2021, is saving 60,000 man-hours per year. That is equivalent to 16 people taking a whole work week off without changing processes or re-hiring. If you want to learn more about HSB, you can find the full case study here.

ROI from increased control

One study from Stanford University revealed productivity declines sharply when workers are forced to work more than 50 hours per week. Imagine coding or correcting templates for hours - your mind is numb, and processing invoices becomes more difficult. 46% of AP teams report working longer hours to process higher volumes. 26% of those AP teams are adding automation in response to rising invoices, preventing burnout and productivity loss. But it doesn’t end there.

With automation, you will increase control of your finance operations. These are some areas and wins you can expect from adopting technology, like autonomous invoice processing: 

  • Complete audit trail
  • Electronic approval process
  • A quicker and better audit process
  • Fewer vendor requirements
  • Improved visibility into unpaid invoices
  • Reduced invoice and payment fraud

Calculate YOUR ROI

If you're curious to find out how autonomous invoicing would impact your business, try out our ROI calculator. Simply add three data points that describes your AP operations and we'll tell you how much you would save and gain in productivity.

Book a demo with our experts if you’re ready to take your business and finance team to the next level with autonomous invoicing.


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