In any business there are specific questions that should be part of every continuous improvement plan:
How do we improve quality?
Can we do a quality job faster?
Are there steps that can be removed or optimized for more efficiency?
Answering all of these questions will help a business to reduce costs, maintain quality, and become more productive.
The same questions can be applied to automating your invoicing processes. Your business receives invoices from a variety of sources, including your product suppliers, contractors, office suppliers, utilities and more. The accounts payable staff is responsible for processing all of these documents in a timely manner to make sure they are reconciled and paid correctly according to the terms of the purchase agreement. Could there be ways to improve this process through automation?
The following are three ways that automated invoicing can be part of your improvement plan:
Eliminate or reduce paper: One of the first steps with automated invoicing is to get rid of the physical documents. By scanning or electronically transmitting the invoices, your internal accounts payables department can virtually eliminate lost documents while removing the delay that is always involved with paper movement.
Pre-validate: Invoice automation can check and validate your documents before your accounts payable team has to review them. This vital step means that your team will only handle valid documents from approved vendors. Your department’s productivity will improve because it is no longer dealing with invalid invoices. For example, if an invoice arrives from a vendor who is not on the valid list, you can have a separate process in place to review, reject or approve this new vendor instead of stopping routine processing to handle the exception.
Measure: Do you know how many invoices you have to process each day, week or month? Are there certain times when the volume is higher? Should you implement new techniques to improve cash flow at certain times of the month? With the right invoice-automation measurement tools in place, you can track this information and make informed business decisions.
Maintaining high quality while making processing faster and more efficient should be the goal of every business regardless of size or industry. Automated invoicing can have a significant positive impact on your operations by tackling all three – quality, speed and efficiency. Compared to what your company will gain, the cost to implement automated invoicing will yield a very acceptable return on your business investment.
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