Manual vs. Automated Accounts Payable – What’s the Difference?

Manual vs. Automated Accounts Payable – What’s the Difference?

Many organizations have weighed the benefits of automation but held off, believing the transition is too costly or difficult to implement. But the cost of doing nothing can be far greater. Even if you understand the foundational benefits accounts payable automation can offer your workflow—saving time, saving money, and improving visibility—you may not know what differentiates automation from manual AP. To help clarify your goals, here are the key differences to consider when comparing manual and automated AP.

Processing Invoices

Manual: Manual AP requires entering data, verifying accurate information, and storing documents. Even when performed accurately, these extra tasks are time-consuming.
Automated: With automated invoice processing, AP professionals don’t have to handle invoices when they come in. An automation system like Paypool routes invoices through centralized points of entry, so whether invoices come from email, snail mail, etc., the system processes them. This gives team members more time to concentrate on strategic tasks.


Manual: The manual approval process can create a lot of back and forth and hold-ups that are now only exacerbated by a remote work environment. Extra time is required to track invoices for approval, often leading to missed deadlines and errors.
Automated: Automation automatically routes invoices to the assigned approver for speedy processing. Solutions are often completely customizable with custom routes, approvers, and notifications based on your needs so nothing is ever lost.

Payment Processing

Manual: Manual processing revolves around the printing, folding, stuffing, stamping, and mailing of paper checks or facilitating electronic payments through your own bank account. This process is time-consuming, and checks may await a signature for days if an approver is working remotely.
Automated: AP automation lets the payment approvers manage and schedule payments within one online system, from anywhere. Once payments are scheduled, the processing of electronic payments and paper checks is handled through automation, and you can avoid dealing with banks or hand signing checks.


Manual: With a manual invoice processing system, it is up to the AP professionals to remember important data from invoices or dig through paper files. Finding a physical invoice may be difficult. If you need to access an older file, it could be hidden away in a file cabinet at the office.
Automated: In an automated system, aggregated data and transaction-level data is available with the click of your mouse. You’ll always be able to access invoices and payment records online from wherever you’re working.


Manual: When scaling your business, working with outdated, manual systems becomes more complex. Older, paper-based systems can make it impossible to grow without sacrificing visibility and accuracy.
Automated: End-to-end solutions sync with your ERP or accounting system to track every invoice and payment securely. You’ll never need to update files or track down missing information. Solutions like Paypool integrate with countless accounting systems, such as NetSuite, QuickBooks, Intacct, Acumatica, and hundreds more. Paypool also supports both custom-built cloud integrations and simple file exports.

Make the Switch

Paypool’s end-to-end solution streamlines the entire accounts payable process, eliminating clutter and manual tasks. Learn how Paypool can level up your organization’s AP workflow—request a demo today.

Brian Acton, Marketing Coordinator at Paypool
Brian has marketing experience at agencies and internal marketing departments. Since 2015, Brian has managed Paypool’s marketing department.

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