Do You Have an AP Automation Math Problem?

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Are you looking at AP Automation to help optimize your business? Take a few minutes to learn the real math behind the AP Automation sales jargon. It isn't what you think it is. We're here to break down the math accuracy AP Automation solutions promise and identify how things really run.

Then we'll share our solution, one that increases accuracy and brings ultimate optimization to your business finance workflows.

AP Automation Just Doesn't Add Up

Recently at an event, I did one of my favorite things: asked all the AP Automation solutions (which every year there are more of them) what is the magic sauce, i.e. what is the technology.

I really love to ask: "At what rate do you process documents accurately?" I hadn't gotten too many responses before their answers reminded me of an old joke: What is the difference between a software salesman and a used car salesman? Well, typically, the used car salesman actually knows when he's lying.

Wait, You Have What Accuracy Percentage?

The AP Automation industry has a serious math problem. How so? Let's take a look at a really simple invoice as an example.

If you were to ask an AP Automation solution salesperson, "At what rate are these invoices going to be processed successfully? " you're going to get answers such as: "Our system will handle this at:

  • 90%
  • 95%
  • Or even 99% accuracy" (there has got to be some absolute magic going on there)

It sounds good. But is it too good to be true? Let's dig a little deeper to see what those numbers actually mean.

Field vs. Document

On an extremely simple document like the one shown here, there may be typically ten different fields that you have to capture for accuracy.

Handsfree AP Automation

When an AP Automation solution salesperson quotes you those numbers, the secret is that it's not 90, 95, 99% accuracy for the document. They are quoting the accuracy rate on an individual field that you need to capture.

That shouldn't make a difference for the document's overall accuracy, though, right? Wrong.


If you're going to walk away only having learned one thing it's this: 90% accuracy in each field does not mean 90% for the whole document.

The reason is simple math:

  • If you only have a single field that you need to capture on your document (which never happens), and your accuracy rate is 90%, well, then that document's going to sail through 90% of the time.
  • However, what happens if you have that second field? The inaccuracy compounds. If the first field is accurately captured at 90% and the second field is captured at 90%, you're now at an 81% accuracy total. Not a 90% accuracy total.
  • If you go on to capture all ten fields on the invoice, each with a 90% chance of accuracy, guess what your accuracy level is for the entire document? It drops down to a robust 35%.

That's the truth behind the math behind AP Automation. When you hear the numbers, they give you, this depreciation of accuracy is not what you're expecting.

Handsfree AP Automation 2

Now imagine that instead of an easy invoice, you get a realistically complicated invoice like this one above. What happens? The accuracy rate won't be 90%. It won't even be 35%. It will be much lower.

DaaS Has The Answer

To solve this problem, we have created DaaS (Documents as a Service).

What's the difference?

  • AP Automation is a point solution
  • DaaS, on the other hand, is a platform that allows you to automate any document: invoices, shop floor documents, customer orders, what we consider more high-value documents.

With our combination of technology and services behind the scenes, we're processing with 100% accuracy on every document. Additionally, there's no painful learning curve. Nobody in your company will have to:

  • Learn how to use this software
  • Learn how to manage the documents
  • Learn how to create templates, eliminating the stress that usually comes with documents from new customers or vendors

AP Automation has a serious math problem. Don't let them convince you that a 90% accuracy in each field will give you a 90% accuracy on the entire document. The HandsFree team can help you work out the math and streamline your business with DaaS, Documents as a Service.

Could your business benefit from 100% accuracy with no painful learning curve? Contact HandsFree online or call (937) 563-2535 to start the conversation.

By Peter Joeckel, HandsFree,

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