Transform your Invoice Processing in SAP from a Slow Dance to a Quickstep

Forget “slow, slow, quick quick, slow”, let’s cut straight to the hops and skips of the quickstep dance. Well, that’s exhausted my knowledge of ballroom dancing and what’s this got to do with invoice processing in SAP anyway?

Ballroom dancing is all about maintaining a connection with your partner, which is a great analogy for how intelligent document processing (IDP) works with SAP. Augmenting your SAP ECC or SAP S/4HANA module with an IDP platform like Rossum speeds up Accounts Payable (AP) processes by turning a three-step manual workflow into a one-step operation.

What is invoice processing in SAP?

A typical AP workflow that combines manual processes with an SAP ERP module tends to look like this:

  1. Invoice received

    The initial step involves an AP clerk manually checking their email daily for new invoices.
  2. Data manually entered into SAP

    At this point, the AP clerk has to review the invoice and manually insert the key data into their SAP ERP. Supplier, line item data including quantities, costs and taxation information all have to be entered into the system. It’s a time-consuming step, vulnerable to human error, and exacerbated by complex invoices that can be 100s of pages long. This stage alone can take an AP clerk 10-15 minutes to process each invoice, this adds up if you’re processing 1000s of invoices manually. In addition, once the data is in SAP, the clerk has to perform 3-way matching to ensure there is no data entry error or duplicate invoicing.
  3. Click “post”

    This is the point where the invoice goes to a budget owner for approval.

    This process assumes that all the information is present and correct, but what if it’s not? What if the data is wrong or the PO is missing? Then you can add a bunch of steps for back and forth communication with suppliers to ensure the right data gets into your SAP software, at this point go back to step 1 to check for a correct invoice.

    Clearly invoice processing in SAP using manual processes is more of a “slow, slow, slow” dance than “quick, quick, slow.”

    When you integrate the Rossum IDP solution with SAP ECC or SAP S/4HANA Cloud, what does the AP process look like? Well, it turns it into a one-step automated document workflow. 

Automating manual workflows in one step

Think of Rossum as a document processing layer that sits at the forefront of your business, eliminating manual workflows while ensuring that only accurate information gets into your downstream SAP module. What happens in the platform to achieve this optimal state?

  • Rossum automatically ingests invoice data into the platform, 
  • it reviews and sorts the invoices into document workflows, 
  • an AI extracts the data without the need for templates, 
  • the Rossum platform performs 3-way matching and validates the invoice data using SAP master data, 
  • validated data is passed to SAP automatically via an integration.
How Rossum works. End-to-end automation of document workflows, including invoice processing in SAP.

What are the benefits of AI invoice processing? Real-world outcomes

FINN, a German car subscription company, has an “automate everything” mindset as a way to rapidly scale the company in the US and European markets. FINN uses Rossum to automate its AP processes and has reduced the time spent per document by 71%, and spends on average 22 seconds validating each document within the Rossum platform before sending the data to SAP.

Read the case study here

What if the master data doesn’t match?

If Rossum finds that the invoice data is incorrect, it won’t let the data pass to the downstream SAP module. It’s at this point that the human-in-the-loop (HITL) comes into play but instead of a tedious back and forth, Rossum can also help the AP team speed up communication with suppliers without leaving the platform. Automated email templates can be triggered in Rossum to unblock invoices and get the process moving again. 

On average Rossum’s customers clawed back between 12-22% of their time from handling exceptions, and this is on top of the time saved from straight through processing that the Rossum platform is already delivering for them.

These productivity gains from IDP demonstrate that whether it’s your supplier or your downstream SAP ERP system, if you aren’t communicating with your partner, your quickstep will slow to a stop.