Have you run across any of these accounts payable issues in your company?
- Duplicate payments because you can’t tell if you’ve paid an invoice or not?
- Not being able to verify that an invoice is correct because you can’t find the original contract or agreement?
- Late payment charges or missing early payment discounts because it takes too long to process invoices?
- Disagreements with suppliers because your accounts payable records don’t match their invoice?
- Too much space needed to store processed invoices?
- CFO looking for ways to reduce expenses and improve efficiency?
Get Off Your Horse
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, it may be time to get off the horse of manual invoice processing and automate.
Automating accounts payable has significant and long-lasting financial benefits: you can eliminate duplicate payments, increase productivity and give management visibility into workflow processes that they never had before to achieve further efficiency gains and even competitive advantage. This automation can be achieved with document scanning, document management and integration with your enterprise resource planning (ERP) or accounting system. The average ROI timeframe typically ranges from six to nine months for the initial investment. Scanning the backfile of invoices and support documentation and/or outsourcing the ongoing PO box receipt, scanning and indexing of invoices on a day-forward basis offers even more information availability and lower storage costs.
Industry Evidence Is Overwhelming
Software providers, industry analysts and consulting companies each have statistics and examples of how automating invoice processing can lead to lower costs. Each of them is right. Each case study touches on some, if not all, of the following issues and solutions:
- Consolidation: If you have silos of accounts payable information, consolidating the receipt, processing and storing of invoices in a single place saves time—even more is saved with browser-based access via cloud solutions.
- Outsourcing Processes: If you are going to centralize, you may want to consider outsourcing both scanning and receipt via PO box services to further reduce costs.
- Distributed Scanning: If you incur significant shipping costs and/or delay in receiving invoices from remote offices, you can save time and money by having them scanned locally and saved to a central document repository.
- Reducing Complexity: OCR and line-item extraction may provide significant benefit for organizations that have complex or a high volume of inbound invoices and only want to manually deal with exceptions vs. processing all invoices.
- Improving Accountability: Automating workflow processes can simplify and provide accountability to both processing invoices and managing exceptions. Automated reminders provide ongoing accountability, and assure that issues are addressed in a timely manner.
- Simplifying Access: Integrating with an ERP system leverages your investment by improving document availability and making information accessible directly from within the application quickly and easily.
If automating invoice processing is the best practice for accounts payable departments in any organization, what is the best practice making it happen? Partnering with a company who has deep experience with it.