In a perfect world, we’d get paid exactly what we invoiced, promptly and without dispute. We all know that real life often brings the opposite, so how do we try to ensure that invoices are paid in a timely manner? Hint: follow the lead of accounts payable…
Purchase orders and customer invoices are all created electronically and can usually be re-submitted easily. However, especially for manufacturers, distributors and transportation companies, the proof of delivery (POD) document is critical—it’s the only evidence that the shipment was received and order fulfilled because the customer admits this by signing on the dotted line. What happens when the POD exists only in paper form? Misfiled, lost or damaged PODs can lead to payment delays or invoices not getting paid at all if the customer claims they did not receive a shipment (rightly or wrongly). How can we prevent payment delays and other problems due to lost PODs? Document scanning and document management.
Document scanning is the best way to make sure all PODs are electronically captured. Because these documents are often torn, dirty and received in high volumes, we recommend that you have an outside partner scan them all on production scanning equipment—high-end scanners are usually needed to handle these difficult documents and not cause further damage in the conversion process. Outsourcing this labor-intensive process is a good way also to avoid unbudgeted capital expenditures and take advantage of its benefits today.
Where the Paper Hits the Road
Once captured, document management software helps ensure that all PODs are securely accessible and searchable—from anywhere at anytime if using a cloud implementation. Why not just scan PODs to a folder on the shared drive or email them from an MFP instead of implementing document management? Because if electronic documents are not indexed or filed properly, they can be lost just as easily as the paper originals. Additionally, most document management software applications are easily integrated with ERP, accounting and financial systems so that accounts receivable personnel can quickly email the original PO, invoice and POD—all together, quickly—should there be a customer question or dispute. It’s hard to further delay or refuse payment when a customer sees an employee’s signature on the bottom line of a POD with all the supporting documentation to go with it. All of the above can help ensure faster and smoother payment of customer invoices, leading to healthy cash flow, and a healthy business.
The Kicker: You May Already Have Document Management
Many companies already utilize document scanning services and document management solutions for invoice processing automation in accounts payable. So, for a marginal increase in scope, the benefits of automating accounts receivable are possible by leveraging services and software already in place—which can then be used to automate HR. Let us know if we can help.