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Efficiency is key to running an effective and profitable business. In the construction industry, making good time is just as important as doing great work. One of the most time-consuming tasks when operating a construction company is accounts payable (AP.) Thanks to recent advancements in industry technology, you can save big money by automating your accounts payable.   

What Is AP Automation for Construction? 

Accounts payable automation is when a construction company implements accounting software that eliminates the need to manually enter and process construction accounts payable tasks. Each step of the process is automated by using software that does what used to take hours, in just a few seconds.  

Traditional accounts payable management may seem like the more cost-effective option–an investment of more elbow-grease versus investing thousands of dollars on unfamiliar technology–not to mention the training necessary to use the software. 

However, manual data entry comes with many drawbacks that cause headaches, mistakes, and lost money–all of which can be avoided. Here are some of the most common issues with sticking to a manual accounting system. 

Managing multiple job sites 

The larger the organization, the more separate job sites there are to manage. Each job site will likely have its own set of vendors, equipment, and possibly even self-performing contractors. That means an AP team will have a lot to organize and keep track of (and a higher risk of making mistakes.) 

Communication issues between the field and the office 

With multiple job sites versus one AP department (or even possibly a single AP specialist), miscommunication and frustration can happen frequently. 

Human errors 

One of the most infamous challenges when running a construction company is the need to faultlessly adhere to (and stay ahead of) compliance and regulations. Despite a specialist’s best effort, they’re people, not computers–and hours staring at a spreadsheet can take its toll.  

Here are some examples of what happens when data is entered incorrectly… 

A 2018 study by Gartner revealed that “poor data quality” can cost US businesses $10 MILLION dollars each year. Another case of human error comes from a Forbes article, where over half a million voters received inaccurate absentee applications because of a misaligned spreadsheet–which matched voters with their local registrar’s offices. 

Long waiting periods for approval 

Approving invoices takes a lot of time, and with company leaders constantly on the move, it can take longer than expected. When this happens, there is a greater chance for delayed payments–which causes tension with vendors waiting for their invoices to get paid. 

The Benefits of AP Automation in Construction 

Every level of your organization will feel the positive impacts of automation–from your employees to your vendors, and every level in between. While it may feel like a hefty investment into an unfamiliar tool and extensive training, the advantages of construction AP automation are worth considering.   


The most important aspect of accounting is accuracy. Every last digit, decimal, and date must be accurate to avoid late payments and frustration during tax season.  

Automating accounting processes may feel risky initially because there’s something comforting about having a human eye (and brain) overseeing the process. The good news is… 

 Automation doesn’t eliminate human control. It fuels it.  

When hours of manual data entry are eliminated and streamlined digital processes create a smooth and predictable workflow between the field and the office, an accounting specialist is empowered with more time, and a clearer head, to execute accurate accounting and ensure everyone is paid on schedule.  


The only thing that automation saves more than money… is time. And when running any business, saving time saves money! Aside from the hours of labor that accounting specialists can apply elsewhere, automation also provides:  

  • Faster workflows - Because there are digital touchpoints for each step and mobile-compatible tools, field supervisors, AP specialists, and company leaders all have their assigned points of entry and dedicated responsibility. This means workflows are way less likely to get bottlenecked.
  • Faster approval timelines - Instead of playing phone tag, or struggling to review and approve a massive stack of paper invoices at once, automation makes it easy to notify CFOs (or whoever is responsible for invoice approval), let them review it from anywhere (at any time), and stamp approval instantaneously.
  • Faster Processing - From record keeping to scheduling payments, automation makes the entire accounts payable process [x] times faster than traditional data entry.  


Introducing automation also gives a construction company more awareness and clarity on the actual profit vs loss. It’s easier to track and analyze revenue and expenditures and gives more control over the financial process.  

Because it’s easier to see what’s going on, it’s easier to optimize and improve processes when necessary, giving an organization more adaptability in a highly dynamic industry. 

Heading options: 

Key Features of AP Automation for Construction 

While the fundamentals of accounting don’t change between industries (an invoice is received and the invoice is paid), the many compliance standards and need for moment-to-moment flexibility mean that construction companies need automated AP software specifically designed for them 

When researching different tools, you’ll want to look for AP software that offers the following features:  

  • Includes a user-friendly interface that works seamlessly on desktop and mobile devices 
  • Invoice Scanning/OCR Scanning 
  • On-The-Go Invoicing and Receipt Capture 
  • The ability to customize workflows 
  • The ability to integrate with preexisting accounting systems like Sage or Spectrum 
  • Multiple automation processes for more than just paying invoices  

Finding the right software that meets the needs of your construction business will make it easy for everyone involved in the accounting process to quickly have access to on-the-go features that make their jobs quicker, easier, and more accurate, saving the company money (and time) in the long run.   

How To Get Started With AP Automation 

Once the decision is made to add automation to your accounts payable process, there are things your company can do throughout implementation to ensure the smoothest transition possible. 

Audit current accounts payable processes 

Assessing current processes is a great way to catch inefficiencies and pain points that need to be solved. Leaders should sit down with AP managers and specialists to go over each stage of current workflows and ask for feedback on some of the most pressing issues. Once an organization knows exactly what needs optimizing, finding the right software becomes much easier. 

Choose the right software 

With a list in hand of pain points and a clear understanding of the drawbacks of current processes, it’s time to choose a software solution. Here are a few things to consider: 

  • Make sure it has the features your organization needs. There are several compliance and specific processes that apply to running a construction company, so the software needs to be specifically designed to address these aspects. 
  • Assess the current size of your organization and projected growth estimations. The construction industry is always evolving, and so is your business. You’ll want to find software that offers flexibility as you grow so you can get the most out of your investment.
  • Prepare your team with educational resources and training. Introducing new policies and software doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Yes, it will take time to become proficient, but effective training and easily accessible resources can make all the difference in improving AP specialist's comfort and performance.  
  • Hold everyone to a single standard. When you introduce a tool that optimizes workflow processes, everyone involved should participate. The minute one person doesn’t use the new tool, it can cause confusion and frustration.  
  • Continue to monitor and audit processes regularly. Integrating construction AP software isn’t the end–it’s the beginning. Make sure that processes are regularly audited, and leaders ask for feedback from every participant in the AP process to look for ways to improve it. 

hh2’s Document Flo feature is here to help 

While it’s always a good idea to research multiple software options, hh2’s Doc Flow offers an easy and accurate way to: 

  • Acquire invoices and credit card receipts from anywhere  
  • Code and route expenses to the right job and the right people 
  • Enter that information into the all-in-one accounting system for processing and payment. 

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