Interest in back-office technology continues to increase as a way to control costs and increase productivity. What are the latest trends in the industry, and what benefits could it bring to the way your AP team processes invoices?
We recently ran a webinar in conjunction with Vendorin, which discussed some of the challenges faced by CFOs with their accounts payables processes. As part of the webinar, we asked some questions to gauge the current state of invoice automation, and some of the bigger issues currently impacting the function. The upshot of our findings is that, although technology plays a significantly greater role in AP than just a few years ago, there’s still plenty of opportunity to improve efficiency.
Chrome River is excited to attend VANTAGE 2015 again this year. We have several opportunities to get together with you. Many of you already use Chrome River EXPENSE. We invite you to join our "APAutomation" speaking session on Thursday, June 18 from 2:15 - 3:15 to learn more about Chrome River INVOICE. Also, stop by booth #13 in the Exhibit Hall to say hi!
When it comes to survival of the midsize firm, you have two choices. You can be ruthless. Or you can die. Time is your biggest resource and the one most often abused. Because of the precarious spot in which midsize companies are wedged, inefficient use of time will kill you every time.
In Part 1, we looked at the differences between manual and automated expense and invoice entry. So how does automated entry make Accounts Payable more strategic? Here are just a few of the ways that immediately come to mind.
Over the past 14 years, I’ve had the good fortune to be part of many business-process-improvement initiatives related to Spend Management. It’s been my experience that often, at first, the Accounts Payable managers are concerned about the impact on their department and can even be reluctant to pursue Accounts Payable automation altogether. I’m not sure if it’s the specter of the way robotics once replaced countless skilled workers in Detroit or the common notion that one day we will all be replaced by machines. It just seems like AP managers are often concerned about losing headcount and control over processes that they have owned for many years.
An invoice from a vendor arrives in the day’s mail and sets off a complex process. First, the invoice envelope must be sorted and opened, the return envelopes and ads tucked inside discarded. From there, your company may scan the invoice or key in data and begin validating individual items. By the time the document reaches an approver for payment verification, it’s no mystery why processing paper invoices is often expensive, inaccurate and inefficient.
If you’re not actively involved in the operation of your payroll department, you might be under the impression that it really isn’t that complicated. However, if you were to do a little digging, you’d discover the secrets of your payroll department run deeper than you might imagine.
Now that there is an app for nearly every conceivable function, companies have realized that their second largest expense, travel, can be fully automated – bringing a new level of insight, analysis and negotiation to the ubiquitous expense report. Gone are the days of paper, calculators and spreadsheets for the tedious yet mandatory task of reimbursement. In their place are flashy smartphone apps that track the traveler’s location and purchases and create expense transactions automatically. These mobile solutions are linked to cloud-based expense management systems that provide immediate feedback to the employee when policies have been breached. They also provide high-visibility notification for approvers when compliance conditions are not met, allowing firms to exert greater control over their operating expenses to adhere to client requirements and firm policies. Requiring employees to manually complete expense reports, which not only wastes time but also drives up costs through lost productivity and increased staffing, is no longer a viable option. In today’s economy, it’s either increase productivity or suffer reduced profitability.
Those big guys have it made. Large companies have the ability to invest in consultants and analysts to streamline their accounts payable (AP) and expense reporting processes so they can process much more volume in a short amount of time. If only there were ways for small and medium-sized businesses to take advantage of the same capabilities. It would level the playing field and more than likely reduce some operating expenses in the process.
A requirement of every chief financial officer’s job is to find ways to improve the company’s profitability. Improvements can be accomplished by making the best use of corporate funds and reducing expenses. How CFOs reduce company costs can vary greatly from one business to the next. The industry type, business size and corporate structure are all important factors.
There is a popular saying in the South that is appropriate in the world of small business: “It’s hard to drain the swamp when you’re up to your elbows in alligators.” For small-business owners, with limited time and resources, it is difficult to keep control of finances when most of your time is spent just keeping the business going. Customers are calling, shipments must be unloaded, orders are pending, and employees are complaining. All of these distractions can keep a small-business owner or manager from taking a hard look at finances.The issue is not necessarily when to examine finances, but how small businesses manage expenses and finances. Applying the following tips could actually give you the time you need to get a handle on your finances:
In any business there are specific questions that should be part of every continuous improvement plan:
Few would argue with the truism “Numbers don’t lie,” but inaccurate numbers can and do lie all the time. A good example is the vast number of inaccurate numbers that can enter an organization’s financial system via expense reports. Organizations that allow employees to write or type expenses into a form that is manually reviewed and re-entered into the accounting system by a staff member have introduced several opportunities to enter inaccurate information for each transaction.
In this third and final part of our three-part series, we will conclude our discussion on accounts payable best practices fueled by the excellent article "9 Best Practices for Automating Your AP Department" written by David Schmidt and Katie McMurry for the third-quarter printing of Financial Operations Matters. It provides an excellent roadmap for automation that is both commonsensical and actionable.
In this second part of a three-part series, we will resume our discussion of Accounts Payable Best Practices (Part 1) fueled by an excellent article entitled "9 Best Practices for Automating Your AP Department," written by David Schmidt and Katie McMurry. Their work appeared in the Third Quarter printing of Financial Operations Matters and provides an excellent road map for automation that is both commonsensical and actionable.
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Wow! This Chrome River is great. Word has spread [in our firm] and people that were not invited to be in the pilot group rollout have asked to be included!