Modernized AP: AP Automation and OCR in D365 Finance

Explore D365 AP Automation and OCR in this thorough guide. Uncover functional benefits and ROI insights to optimize invoice processing in your organization today.

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Aaron Klein


Processing vendor invoices is a routine yet crucial task in every organization. The introduction of AP Automation and OCR in Dynamics 365 Finance significantly streamlines this process by automating it, reducing the time spent and errors made. Utilizing technologies like Microsoft Azure Form Recognizer and AI Builder, D365 Finance provides a robust solution for managing vendor invoices efficiently. This automation is not just a one-off but continuously improves through intelligent recognition and learning from invoice exceptions, ensuring your accounts payable process is streamlined and evolving to meet the demands of modern financial operations.

What is AP Automation?

AP Automation, or Accounts Payable Automation, revolutionizes how businesses manage and pay vendor invoices. Traditionally, handling invoices is a manual, paper-driven process prone to errors and delays. AP Automation tackles these challenges by digitizing this process, thus enhancing efficiency and accuracy. The core components of AP Automation include electronic invoicing, real-time analytics, streamlined processing, and fraud detection. By employing AP Automation, companies eliminate manual tasks like data entry and paper check issuance, drastically reducing the chances of errors while ensuring timely payments to vendors.

What is OCR?

Optical Character Recognition, or OCR, is a technology that transforms text from images or scanned documents into machine-readable format. This transition from image to text enables further digital processing and analysis. For instance, a scanned receipt can be converted into a text file, which can then be searched, edited, or analyzed. OCR operates by analyzing the shapes and patterns of text in images, distinguishing the characters, and converting them into digital text. This technology is a significant asset in automated data extraction and storage, saving time, costs, and other resources by automating the data extraction process from physical or scanned documents.

Advancing Invoice Management: Key Benefits of OCR in D365 Finance

D365 AP Automation OCR workflow

Implementing OCR (Optical Character Recognition) in D365 Finance significantly accelerates the AP invoice management process. Firstly, it automates data extraction from scanned vendor invoices or documents, reducing manual data entry and its associated errors. This automation notably accelerates the vendor invoice processing workflow. Secondly, OCR’s integration facilitates centralized document storage, providing a one-click overview of expenses and receipts, which is crucial for better expense management. Moreover, OCR’s continuous learning and improvement ensures enhanced accuracy over time, adapting to various vendor invoice formats and exceptions. Lastly, by automating a traditionally tedious process, OCR streamlines operations and frees up valuable time for AP clerks and Account Payables teams, allowing them to focus on more strategic, high-value tasks. Through these benefits, OCR in D365 Finance distinctly contributes to a more efficient, accurate, and agile accounts payable process, reflecting a progressive approach to financial management.

Microsoft Dynamics AP Automation Solution Key Benefits

Accounts Payable - D365 AP Automation process

In financial management, leveraging technology for routine tasks is a game-changer. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations (F&O) AP Automation solution is at the forefront of this change, offering benefits that transform the accounts payable process into an efficient, accurate, and insightful operation. The key advantages of this built-in and standard Dynamics 365 solution stretch across various facets of AP management. Let’s take a closer look at the transformative potential of Dynamics 365 F&O AP Automation for your organization:

Automated Invoice Processing: 

Submit imported invoices to the workflow system effortlessly.

Precise Matching: 

Achieve accuracy with three-way matching of product receipts and invoices.


Ensure data accuracy with pre-validation of vendor invoice postings.

Efficient Workflow:

View historical data and streamline automation for multiple invoices.

Enhanced Visibility:

Get insights with Microsoft Power BI metrics for efficiency.

Customized Solutions:

Tailor Dynamics Finance AP Automation to your industry-specific needs.

Avoid costly ISV solutions:

Reduce overall licensing cost and solution lifecycle management by using built-in Microsoft D365 features. 

The above-highlighted benefits showcase a solution tailored to modernize AP processing, enhancing efficiency and insight. Dynamics 365 F&SCM AP Automation embodies a progressive approach to financial management, preparing organizations to handle modern-day accounts payable challenges. With Microsoft Dynamics AP Automation, your organization’s financial foundation becomes robust and adaptable. Consequently, this paves the way for streamlined operations, informed decision-making, and a competitive edge in today’s fast-paced business environment. Partnering with a Microsoft Solution Partner ensures you leverage the full potential of this ERP software, optimizing your supply chain management solutions.

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Microsoft D365 AP Automation ROI

Investing in Microsoft D365 AP Automation is a strategic move towards optimizing your accounts payable processes. The Return on Investment (ROI) is substantial, as automation minimizes manual efforts, reducing the time and resources spent on invoice processing. Moreover, with precise matching and pre-validation features, the accuracy in transactions eliminates potential financial discrepancies, saving additional costs. Efficient workflow management and enhanced visibility through Microsoft Power BI metrics further contribute to informed financial decision-making, optimizing expenditure and ultimately boosting the bottom line. Tailoring the AP Automation to meet industry-specific needs allows for a customized solution that aligns well with your operational goals, ensuring a quicker and more substantial ROI. A Microsoft Dynamics 365 Partner can further assist in ensuring a seamless ERP implementation and integration process, enhancing your organization’s transition to a modern workplace.

If you’re currently using D365 Finance, it’s essential to know that Microsoft has incorporated AP automation functionality into your standard Dynamics 365 Finance subscription. This means this AP automation feature is provided to you at no additional cost. Through streamlined operations and actionable insights, Microsoft D365 AP Automation stands as a significant pillar supporting the modernization and efficiency of your financial operations.

Real-life Customer Example: Dynamics 365 AP Automation ROI and 440K Annual Savings

In a recent D365 project and in a striking example of the effectiveness of Microsoft D365 AP automation, Avantiico implemented AP Automation in less than 160 hours to overhaul the client’s manual Accounts Payable (AP) processes. The AP initiative led to the successful automation of 80% of invoices from day one and 94% of invoices within the first month of implementation.

Specifically, by automating 12,200 invoices, the AP automation project benefits are estimated by the client to be an annual savings of $440,400 and with immediate benefits. As the AP volume and the company grows, so will the annual benefits. Beyond the substantial cost savings, the streamlined AP operations are resulting in improved financial data accuracy and better supplier relations through timely and accurate payments. The enhanced processes free up employees to engage in value-added tasks, contributing to overall business growth. Furthermore, the modernization is providing the Avantiico client with a competitive advantage by enabling strategic resource allocation and faster market response, laying a strong groundwork for sustained growth and operational excellence.

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Quantitative & Qualitative ROI of Microsoft D365 AP Automation

The tangible benefits of Microsoft D365 AP Automation extend beyond mere cost savings, delving into substantial quantitative and qualitative returns. These returns further underscore the solution’s value, revealing a multi-dimensional ROI that resonates across different facets of your business operations.

D365 AP Automation Quantitative ROI

Cost Savings Through Streamlined Workflow:

The automation of invoice processing significantly reduces the costs associated with manual handling, paper printing, and storage, thus creating a more streamlined workflow​​.

Efficient Processing of Thousands of Invoices:

Automation allows for the efficient processing of thousands of invoices monthly, demonstrating a substantial improvement in processing capacity​​.

High Percentage of Automated Invoice Processing:

Utilizing OCR, straight-through processing (STP) can be achieved, where a high percentage (95%+) of invoices are processed automatically without user interaction, making the process seamless and significantly faster​​.

D365 AP Automation Qualitative ROI

Precision Enhancement:

Automation significantly minimizes manual errors, thus ensuring more accurate financial data management. This accuracy can bolster confidence among stakeholders and enhance your organization’s reputation for financial integrity​​.

Improved Supplier Relations:

Timely and accurate payments improve supplier relations by establishing you as a reliable partner, which can lead to better negotiation terms, vendor pricing discounts, and generally heightened supplier satisfaction​​.

Competitive Edge:

A streamlined AP process through automation grants a competitive edge by allowing for strategic resource allocation, informed decisions, and better vendor discount management as a result of timely payments.

The exploration of Microsoft D365 AP Automation’s ROI presents a compelling narrative on the transformative potential of this solution. By automating the AP process, not only does your organization reap quantitative benefits like cost savings and enhanced processing efficiency but also qualitative returns that refine supplier relations and foster a competitive edge. The integration of OCR technology further amplifies these benefits, ensuring precise data capture and streamlined operations. For those already live on D365 Finance & Operations, leveraging the AP Automation feature is a logical and value-driven progression that requires no additional investment, thus enhancing the ROI further. This multi-dimensional ROI transcends the traditional cost-centric view, embracing a broader impact that resonates across various operational and strategic facets of your business. As your organization navigates the evolving business landscape, embracing Microsoft D365 AP Automation emerges as a strategic initiative that yields substantial and enduring value.

Harnessing D365 AP Automation for Environmental Betterment and Disaster Mitigation

In the modern business landscape, environmental sustainability and disaster preparedness are not just ethical choices but strategic imperatives. AP automation also supports new organizational models with work-from-anywhere models. Microsoft D365 AP Automation serves as a conduit to achieve these objectives seamlessly. Let’s break this down:

Environmentally Friendly:

Transitioning to D365 AP Automation significantly cuts down paper usage by shifting traditional invoice processing to a digital platform. This not only contributes to environmental sustainability but also reduces energy consumption, lowering your operation’s carbon footprint. D365 AP Automation demonstrates a tangible commitment to eco-friendly business practices while streamlining operations.

Disaster Recovery:

Harnessing D365 AP Automation significantly enhances disaster recovery preparedness, particularly in safeguarding critical accounts payable data. In the traditional manual AP process, paper invoices and financial records are susceptible to loss or damage during unforeseen disasters such as fires or floods. However, D365 AP Automation transitions these crucial processes to a secure digital platform. All invoice data is securely stored in the cloud, ensuring that your financial data remains accessible and intact, regardless of physical conditions. Moreover, the automated backup features within the D365 AP Automation ensure that your data is securely archived and can be swiftly retrieved whenever necessary. This level of data protection and accessibility is pivotal for business continuity, making D365 AP Automation a valuable asset in bolstering your organization’s disaster mitigation capabilities.

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D365 AP Automation Implementation and Integrations

D365 AP Automation implementation process

The implementation and integration of D365 AP Automation and OCR within existing systems are designed to be streamlined, given the native features and integration capabilities offered by Microsoft. Here is a detailed breakdown:

How to – The Implementation Process:

Implementing OCR in D365 Finance – Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance has built-in OCR processing capabilities, which can be set up by configuring the Document Routing Agent (DRA) and defining OCR service connections within the system. This setup allows the OCR service to read vendor invoices and extract key information.

Implementing AP Automation in D365 Finance – Implementing AP Automation in D365 Finance involves setting up workflows for vendor invoice processing, configuring approval hierarchies, and defining parameters for automatic matching and validation.

Integration Capabilities:

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance can integrate with Microsoft Azure Form Recognizer for OCR purposes, which requires setting up a connection between the two services and configuring the necessary parameters in Dynamics 365 Finance​​. There are also integrations possible with Microsoft Power Automate for workflow automation, which could be utilized for AP automation purposes​.

The above demonstrates a structured and relatively straightforward approach to implementing and integrating OCR and AP Automation functionalities within Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance.


Exploring AP Automation and OCR in D365 Finance illuminates a path to streamlined and insightful financial management. Automating vendor invoice processing significantly cuts down on manual errors and time spent. OCR integration amplifies this by ensuring precise data capture, which is pivotal for informed decision-making.
Moreover, the ease of implementation and integration with existing systems underscores D365’s adaptability to diverse operational needs. The tangible ROI, enhanced supplier relations, and competitive edge it offers make a compelling case for adoption. In a digital-driven business landscape, leveraging the D365 Finance, AP Automation, and OCR features isn’t just strategic – it’s imperative for modernized, efficient, and resilient financial operations.

Finally, if you are already live on D365 Finance, capitalizing on the functionality of Microsoft’s integrated AP Automation and OCR features is a “no-brainer” as they are already available to you within your D365 Finance Subscription. Even those of you who have found third-party workarounds stand to gain by switching to Microsoft’s native AP Automation, as it is more cost-effective and backed by Microsoft’s continuous dedication to product innovation.

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