Well, there are three main areas that we see based on the research we’ve done and the conversations we have with organizations that are tackling this issue. The first one is asset costs. How can you reduce the storage costs? Maybe you’ve got a few hundred boxes of paper invoices and associated documents stored somewhere that really aren’t adding a lot of value.
Getting access to the invoices and supporting documents can be tricky in that environment, so how do we improve the access to them so we don’t have to dig through those boxes when something gets lost. And eliminating overall lost invoices is a big problem as well. If your providers offer the option, continually pick out virtual invoices so you can import them immediately for your accounting payable software program in preference to manually getting into the information. If you operate an accounting software program that incorporates a scan-and-pay feature, you may snap a photo of the seller bill and add it to capture as a buy transaction.
The next item then we look at processing costs. Can we reduce manual effort and duplicate data entry wherever possible. That could have a significant impact on your headcount. What if we want to increase productivity as volumes increase of invoices?
Again, another area where headcount reduction might be possible. And then what if we want to look at how we can reduce late and duplicate payments and overall approval times, speed those up. So those are the focus of the processing cost area. And then, the last but not least would be management costs.
You know, management oftentimes doesn’t have visibility into the liability that’s taking place on invoices that are in the queue. There’s no controls or reporting that are taking place on those invoices and it sure would be nice to have that information at your fingertips.
How do we ensure compliance and audit requirements? And last but not least, we want to make sure vendor inquiries and relations. We’ll talk a little more about these as we move forward.
So we’re focused here on invoices, but really it’s much more than invoices, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
There is a lot of unstructured content and dispirited data to manage across the board. Cancelled checks, purchase orders, credit memos, remittances, collection notices, expense reports, vendor management contracts, contacts, discount structures, all kinds of information outside of just the standard invoice.
Automation Stages and Best Practices
Regardless of what anyone else will tell you, there’s really no magic process automation that fits everyone. There are many point solutions out there that will tell you that there is and you need to follow their best and refined process.
Putting a technology solution before your business process requirement is like p
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