For reasons both logistical and culturally systemic, including risk aversion and high compliance thresholds, the healthcare industry has historically trailed other fields in adapting to change and implementing key automation and technological solutions. These include crucial back-office functions such as purchasing and procurement, and accounts payable and invoicing payments.
These operational systems and procedures are the backbone of daily operations for healthcare organizations. They are also key factors in budgeting and finance, with outsized impacts on the bottom line for all healthcare groups and facilities.
Manual procurement and accounts payable practices lose money through a variety of commonly understood inefficiencies. They also drain time and burden staff. And while there has been progress in healthcare automating solutions for procurement and purchasing workflows, invoice processing and payments have been an area of untapped potential. A 2022 survey of healthcare AP found that:
- It costs healthcare organizations 40-90% more from manual, time-consuming invoice processing versus utilizing streamlining automation
- More than 40% of healthcare organizations are still paying invoices manually by check
- 56% expect challenges in hiring high-quality healthcare Accounts Payable staff
Other industries have enjoyed the benefits of Accounts Payable (AP) automation. Today is the moment to bring automated solutions across the entire healthcare supply chain process, from purchasing through payment. It is time for healthcare to enjoy the advantages of time and cost savings through AP automation. These benefits include:
- Saving Time and Reducing Errors.
Automation in AP healthcare activities eliminates cumbersome manual paper-based processes and the associated errors that can add up to unnecessary spend. It also maximizes staffing efficiency.
- Accuracy and Efficiency.
Flagging inconsistencies, tracking financial performance through real-time budgeting, and reducing duplicative transactions are among the immediate benefits of adopting automation in healthcare AP.
- Data Visibility and Insight.
Finance executives and their teams need up-to-the-moment data on spending and the ability to run highly accurate reports to drive strategy.
- Systems Integration.
Leading AP automation solutions seamlessly integrate into existing healthcare procurement and finance platforms.
- Standardized and Streamlined Processes.
Reporting and budgeting become standard across teams and sites with AP automation, eliminating the inefficiencies of single facilities, human error, or branches or clinics employing differing processes.
- Contract Compliance and Monitoring.
Automation for healthcare AP breaks down roadblocks to efficient contract compliance, with added cost-effective benefits including better supplier relations and pursuing discounts for early payments that might be built into agreements.
- Integration Between Purchasing and Finance.
With automated procurement solutions tied into AP technology, purchasing officers and financial executives can bring their priorities and teams into greater alignment and strategic cooperation.
Procurement Partners SimpleAP Automation Solution Enters the Conversation
Healthcare procure-to-pay technology leader Procurement Partners now offers SimpleAP, an AP automation solution created for healthcare providers and organizations. SimpleAP pairs with Procurement Partners’ existing procurement and supply chain management solutions to deliver digital transformation: even more cost and time savings, efficiencies, and integration across the procure-to-pay process.
This accounts payable automation solution was created to address the specific needs of accounts payable and finance leaders and teams in healthcare. For them, paper invoices and tedious, manual processes have for too long been an industry norm. While technological automation has made procurement and purchasing more streamlined, efficient, and standardized, in many health systems the invoicing side of the equation needs equal innovation.
SimpleAP combines automated optimization backed by human experience and skill. Its range of functions moves through invoice processing, coding, routing, scheduling, and payment while totally integrating the clean, transparent data produced from the procurement process. This leads to immediate and measurable time and cost savings, from advanced optical character recognition (OCR) digitizing of paper documents to leverage data insights and reports that unite the mission of purchasing and finance and give leadership clear, strategic financial line of sight.
SimpleAP also delivers the advantage of a solution integrated with a leading E-Procurement system and its experienced experts. In addition to providing an extensive network of pre-approved vendors, this AP process automation system identifies wasteful spending and potential fraud, monitors contract compliance, lowers data security risks, and improves cash flow measurement and predictability. For finance offices, especially those that might be short-staffed in times of negative trends for healthcare administrative staffing, the benefits can be substantial.
Key features of SimpleAP’s automation include:
- Converting Invoices.
SimpleAP delivers automated reading, digitizing, recognition, and line-item parsing of paper and PDF invoices.
- Electronic Payments.
With SimpleAP, secure payments can be made by check, virtual card, or electronic payments.
- Systems Integration.
In addition to seamless integration with Procurement Partners’ purchasing platform, SimpleAP integrates with accounting systems such as Sage, QuickBooks, Yardi, and RealPage, among others.
- Responsive Customer Service.
Although automated solutions carry great promises of efficiency, they need to be supported by an experienced, knowledgeable, committed, and healthcare-specific customer service team to make sure each customer’s individual needs are being met.
AP automation brings time and cost savings, accuracy and efficiency, data visibility, and compliance and monitoring into the procurement, invoice, and payments processes. The results can begin to be seen immediately: A study released by Goldman Sachs estimates that AP professionals across a range of industries spend about 30% of their time collecting data and answering questions in the absence of automated solutions, and that AP automation can drive 70-80% time savings for small- and medium-sized businesses.
It is time for healthcare finance leaders and professionals to enjoy the technological automation other industries have embraced. The benefits of AP automation for healthcare organizations can be felt from purchasing to spend supervision to inventory and supply chain management. The potential for integration between purchasing and finance is vast—a level of alignment that elevates both the partnership between those aspects of operation and the fortunes of the enterprise itself.
Looking to Reduce Your Annual Spend?
Procurement Partners helps customers reduce their annual spend by more than 10% with an easy-to-navigate solution where users can place orders and process invoices for all suppliers. Procurement Partners is the leading procure-to-pay management system for post-acute and continuum of care providers and has helped organizations achieve 40% time savings and 95% supplier contract compliance through automating the procure-to-pay process.