Every four years the world prepares for and watches one of the most anticipated sporting events of the summer, the Olympics. Athletes would have been training hard in the run up to the event to ensure they have the best chance possible of bringing a medal home and doing their country proud. Over the past couple of weeks the world has experienced so many moments of happiness, sadness, joy, exhilaration and fear watching their country win or lose that precious gold, silver or bronze medal. Many factors can influence what colour medal the athletes take home, but the best athletes will be the ones that tick all the ‘golden’ boxes to make sure that they are the one who wins the gold medal.
Invoice processing also has a gold standard which depends on many factors, including e-invoice capture, scanning, OCR, coding and authorisation, matching, posting to finance and instant retrieval. The average amount of money spent processing a single invoice manually is $19, whereas with an invoice processing system, such as Documation’s Invoice Management Solution (IMS), the cost of processing an invoice can drop significantly to an average cost of under $2. Implementing an IMS will not only save money, it will also reduce data entry, increase security and lower storage costs.
Manually processing an invoice could be compared to not qualifying for the next heat in a 100m race; no matter how fast you try to process an invoice, it is still very slow. The purchase to pay process typically involves bringing together key documents, including purchase orders, invoices, receipts and so on, and transactions often need to be authorised or approved by individuals across an organisation. This lengthy process is very time consuming, very expensive to operate and prone to error.
An automated invoice process can be compared to the best performers in 100m, but there are still variables that can affect the success of such installations. So what are the gold, silver and bronze of an automated invoice processing system?
The ‘Usain Bolt’ of automated invoice processing system is ‘golden’ because every aspect of the processing stage is at optimum efficiency. The gold standard will include Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and e-Invoice Capture, as well as a range of modules offered by Documation as part of the wider invoice processing solution; such as iCode, iAuthorise and iMatch.
These modules can transform the accounts payable department into a ‘golden’ department that can efficiently process invoices.
- iAuthorise enables AP to easily select the correct user to authorise the invoice (based on invoice history and type), removing the need for the AP department to post the invoice to the authoriser who would then manually authorise the invoice and send it back to the AP department.
- iCode makes for quick and easy coding, as it automatically populates each invoice line with an appropriate set of codes which the coder can easily select from (based on history, invoice type and business rules). This increases coding time and accuracy.
- iMatch can be used to automate matching the invoice with the receipts and order (if this isn’t being done in the financial system), and then resolves any discrepancies between them online.
With benefits such as these, AP staff can focus more on value-added work such as negotiating discounts with suppliers, rather than manually entering data or trying to find a misplaced invoice. To find out more about Documation’s iCode, iAuthorise and iMatch modules please visit our website.
The ‘Yohan Blake’ of automated invoice processing system includes OCR, which enables you to extract important business data from a document, feed it directly into an electronic file, and then edit the file using a word processor or other software solution. However, it would not include the iCode or iMatch, but even without these features your accounts payable department would see fantastic benefits, such as:
- Reduced data entry costs
- Increased speed of data extraction
- Fewer errors in data, increasing data integrity
- Reduced processing times
- Easy and inexpensive to store and locate documents
- Digital copies can be saved in a wide range of available formats
- Multiple people can access the same document at the same time
The ‘Justin Gatlin’ of automated invoice processing would be the standard IMS, which will scan and capture invoices and store them for instant retrieval, but will not include any of the other features mentioned above. Although this is classed as bronze, it is still a great contender in the battle for a paperless office. In a recent report by AIIM, titled The Paper Free Office: Dream or Reality?, found out that on average, organisations using scanning and capture consider that it improves the speed of response to customers, suppliers, citizens or staff by 6-times or more. This statistic reflects that by just implementing a standard IMS, organisations could dramatically improve the way their business is run, whilst seeing numerous benefits.