Regardless of its size, every enterprise has to process a multitude of invoices on an ongoing basis in order to ensure uninterrupted operation. Failure to pay in time can severely tarnish a company’s brand image. Invoice processing is therefore a crucial part of operations for any company, but when handled manually, it is a cumbersome, time-consuming, and potentially risky function for any organization. In a paper environment, payment statements come from disparate sources – from vendors, from utility and service providers and more – making it challenging to process and transfer information quickly. Considerable time is spent in collecting and verifying relevant data, and collecting approvals and signatures. This may result in costly mistakes, and consequences may include duplicate invoice payments due to vendor’s resending delayed bills, misplacing of files, and more. While an electronic invoice processing system facilitates electronic capture and storage of invoicing information, embedded automated workflow solutions help automate the entire process, starting with data verification and approval through payment. The invoice processing automation can benefit an organization in the following ways:
Easy Access to Information
A high-quality digital capture system is the backbone of electronic invoice processing system. Powered by technologies such as scanning and optical recognition technologies (OCR), these automated solutions help locate and document both structured and unstructured data on multiple pages, regardless of location and paper size. At the same time, they facilitate math check, instant validation, and checking with outside databases and ERP systems. Thanks to a considerably large memory, the system remembers the location of all data, and recognizes whether an invoice has already been received.
Payment disbursement is subject to approval by the authority concerned. For getting the approval, invoices must be matched to purchase orders. Sometimes invoices are kept on hold due to the mismatch between the two. Thanks to the automated workflow, verification of data takes place right during the documentation process, and sent for getting approval, denial or suspension, from authorized parties. They can access the invoices from any remote locations for reviewing, and signing the invoices. This speeds up the entire process. In addition, automatic notifications are sent to the people from the Accounts department when a specific action has to be taken, helping an organization to avoid late penalties. At the same time, organizations are always updated on the status of a particular invoice and the total payables.
Removes Errors, Simplifies Audits, Improves Productivity
Automated workflow enables the staff from the Finance Department to verify four aspects relating to payment processing – who authorized payment, how much was authorized, when it was authorized and paid, and why the payment was made or denied. This streamlined reporting enables the audit staff to create an electronic audit trail in a jiffy, helping them process payment information quickly and accurately.
Implementation of an automatic payment system frees the Finance Department from getting stuck into the cumbersome, manual procedure of collecting, verifying and entering data manually. They can utilize their time more meaningfully on strategic review and analysis of payment. Reduced complexity in invoice processing, automated approval systems and faster back office processing all contribute to increased efficiency and improved productivity. The net result? A community of happy suppliers and a brighter, shinier brand.
Coupled with automated workflow solutions, digital invoicing software makes payment information accessible to the right people at the right time. This translates into uninterrupted operation for the organizations. The decision makers can access the information from any geographic location, and as a result, payments are made on a timely manner. And, prompt payments mean early payment discounts, and a respite from late fees and duplicate payments. This saving can be significant, especially for the cash-strapped start-ups.