What is Touchless Processing?


When your organization decided on an AP automation solution, Touchless Processing was likely a big factor when choosing ElevateAP. Touchless Processing helps your team minimize the time you spend manually processing invoices, saving you time and money.


What is Touchless Processing?

Touchless Processing happens when ElevateAP successfully receives an invoice directly from a supplier and automatically enters it into Workday without any manual input from an AP specialist.

For a document to be automatically entered, ElevateAP must complete all of the following tasks without manual input:

  1. Receives the document from a designated email inbox
  2. Recognizes its header fields
  3. Pairs any necessary PO lines
  4. Codes any non-PO lines using Document Rules
  5. Confirms that it passes all validation requirements
  6. Enters the document into Workday where it moves on to the next business process, like approval and payment.

When you partner with Ascend’s Customer Success teams, you can customize your criteria for Touchless Processing. Decide which invoices from which suppliers ElevateAP will attempt to automatically enter, and set custom requirements for document validation. Ultimately, you have complete control over which documents ElevateAP attempts to automatically enter.


What is the difference between my Touchless Processing Rate and Automatic Entry Rate?

The Automatic Entry Rate compares the number of documents successfully entered without manual input to the total number of documents submitted within a specified date range.

Automatic Entry Rate = (Number of automatically entered documents)/(Total number of submitted documents during the time frame)

If a Touchless Processing Rate was included as part of your SLA, this rate is calculated slightly differently. It compares the number of documents successfully entered without manual input to the total number of documents that were eligible for automatic entry. This only includes documents that you have authorized ElevateAP to enter automatically through supplier groups, document rules, or other custom settings. This rate only considers documents from a specified date.

Touchless Processing Rate = (Total number of automatically entered documents)/(Total number of eligible documents)

Example: You authorize ElevateAP to automatically enter all invoices from a group of your suppliers. In the month of May, you receive 100 documents from those suppliers. ElevateAP is able to automatically enter 68 of them. Therefore, your Touchless Processing Rate for May is 68%.

Please reach out to your Customer Success Manager if you have questions about your SLA or Touchless Processing Rate.

You can view Touchless Processing metrics in the Analytics section of ElevateAP. If you want to find documents that were automatically entered by ElevateAP within Analytics or Advanced Search, search for 'ElevateAP' in the Entered By field.


What does a document need to have in order to be automatically entered?

Workday requires valid entries for these 5 fields in order to submit a document:

  • Supplier ID
  • Company ID
  • Invoice ID
  • Invoice Date
  • Control Amount

Beyond these, you have complete control over your Touchless Processing settings, so you can require a custom combination of fields. Most organizations choose to require the following as well:

  • A valid entry for header fields
    • Tax option and amount
    • Freight
  • At least one line item with a company, cost center, spend category, and extended amount
    • The header-level company is automatically applied to the line(s) if no line-specific company was identified earlier in the process
  • The invoice is in balance (Extended Amounts + Tax* + Freight + Other = Control Total)
  • There are no validation errors or warnings from Ascend or from Workday, such as the document being flagged as a possible duplicate
*Invoice balancing depends on your selected tax option. Learn more →

Keep in mind that your automatic entry settings are completely customizable. You can choose to allow out of balance invoices to be automatically entered or set up specific parameters. For example, you may only want ElevateAP to automatically enter documents from Supplier X with a control total below $500, or documents from Supplier Y with a specific cost center. Custom configurations like this give you even more control over your AP processes.


How can I “turn on” Touchless Processing?

In order for documents to be automatically entered into Workday, you need to “turn on” Touchless Processing. Here are some of the most common methods.

Single supplier

When a supplier offers discount terms for early payment, or invoices from a certain supplier rarely need to be corrected by your AP team, they may be good candidates for Touchless Processing.

You have the option to further customize Touchless Processing. For example, you can set up a threshold for control amounts and worktags. Submit a ticket or partner with your Customer Success Manager to turn on touchless processing for an individual supplier or customize your settings.

Supplier Group

If you’d like to automatically enter documents from a group of suppliers, set them up as a supplier group in Workday. Easily add or remove suppliers from this group on your own and submit a ticket to update your Touchless Processing settings in ElevateAP.

All Suppliers

Touchless Processing can be turned on for all of your suppliers at once. This means that ElevateAP automatically enters every document that meets your requirements. If ElevateAP isn’t confident about a document and its values, it is sent to your document queue for your team to review.

Document Rules

While you can use Document Rules to speed up manual coding, you can also use them to turn on Touchless Processing for non-PO invoices. If a document meets all automatic entry criteria and you’ve set up Document Rules for your suppliers, you drastically reduce the amount of time your team spends on non-PO invoices. Submit a ticket or partner with your Customer Success Manager to turn on touchless processing for invoices coded by Document Rules.


How can I improve my Touchless Processing rates?

High Touchless Processing rates are the result of time, accurate data, and an active partnership between your team and Ascend. Beyond using best practices, there are several other ways to improve your Touchless Processing rates.

Update data in Workday

Whether you’re onboarding or experienced with ElevateAP, having clean data in Workday is one of the most effective ways to reduce touch on invoices. Make sure that all of your suppliers' data files in Workday are complete and up-to-date. This includes purchase order information, alternate supplier names and contact information as well as your own company aliases. This improves both recognition and automatic entry rates.

Identify good supplier candidates for Touchless Processing

Start by looking at your highest volume suppliers. They will have the biggest impact on both Touchless Processing and recognition rates. If suppliers have recognition rates above 90% or high rates of PO invoices, add them to your Touchless Processing supplier group in Workday. These are the two strongest indicators that a supplier will produce high automatic entry rates.

Partner with a Customer Success Manager

It can take time to learn how to maximize your Touchless Processing rates, especially if you have a lot of data for many different suppliers. Partnering with a Customer Success Manager gives you expert advice and professional guidance along the way. Learn more →


Check out how others have enabled and improved Touchless Processing.

Case 1 Case 2 Case 3
Organization X decided to enable Touchless Processing to reduce the time their AP team was spending on manually processing invoices. They partnered with their Customer Success Manager to indivdually test and approve suppliers for Touchless Processing, focusing on suppliers with high recognition rates. Once they moved to production, they immediately saw high Touchless Processing rates that have only improved over time.
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