Thinking of going paperless in your invoice approval processes? Make sure you’re prepared.
In today’s highly competitive, global economy, every segment of the enterprise is being tasked with finding ways to increase efficiency and productivity while reducing costs. When it comes to B2B transactions, few things decrease efficiency more than the manual processing of paper invoices. Lost or misplaced invoices or mistaken keying in data can result in late payments and duplicate payments. And that can result in additional costs for the company as well as the potential to negatively affect supplier relationships.
But once you’ve decided it’s time to turn to an automated solution that increases efficiency, reduces costs, creates full visibility into the approval process, and offers reports and analytics, you shouldn’t make a move without some important preparatory steps.
- Outline the most suitable invoice management process – One size does not fit all, so it’s imperative that you look at the number of invoices processes per month, the number of ERPs used, whether approvals are centralized or decentralized, and available budget, among other considerations.
- Whatever the result of the cost and structural analysis, make sure that this plan will be consistently maintained throughout the organization – You need to make sure that there are controls in place to ensure that all those who work within the approval and payment process follow the rules and guidelines. Going to the expense and time of implementing an automated solution is meaningless if those using the system don’t follow the rules. So it’s essential to communicate policy and process with those employees involved in the invoice workflow.
- Take a flexible and firm approach to supplier onboarding – This may be the most important and most frustrating step in the preparation process. Some suppliers still feel most comfortable with paper invoices and might be resistant to change. Others may be more than willing to comply. If the majority of your suppliers still want to mail or fax invoices, you need to find a solution that offers an invoice scanning and data capture capability. But for those suppliers willing to transition to e-invoices, you should look for a solution that offers a free supplier portal.
Although there are other steps that need to be taken throughout the process, these three can be tackled with minimal cost and limited time involvement.
See how transforming your AP processes can help increase your company’s profitability.