Today we’re delighted to unveil the newest edition of our invoice management software, Chrome River INVOICE. The latest version of Chrome River INVOICE will make it even easier for approvers and accounts payable teams to track and approve invoices, whether they are at their desk or away from the office.
Hospitals typically receive a quarter of their invoices outside the PO system - often from smaller, local vendors. Processing these invoices manually can take thousands of hours and cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. What can hospitals do to streamline these processes and reduce administrative costs.
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’re getting towards the end of the second quarter, which means that public companies will soon be doing their earnings calls and press releases. If you’ve ever read these, you’ll see that they’re full of jargon and code-words. One of these is “expense management,” which is often code for “cost-cutting,” which in turn often means “job cuts.”
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!
Big data is already changing the ways companies engage in sales, marketing and operations. And its impact is not expected to stop there. Tradeshift CEO Christian Lanng predicts big data’s next big move is into the fields of finance and procurement, with a massive shift into the world of e-invoicing.
When your organization is growing quickly, you need to fuel that expansion with cash. You could try to borrow the money, but a better option might be to focus on speeding up your cash conversion cycle, according to a recent article on the CNNMoney website.
In one’s personal life, the need to dig out the checkbook is increasingly rare; using a credit or debit card or an electronic check is often more efficient and reliable. Paper checks are steadily losing ground to other payment methods in business, too, including Automated Clearing House debits, wire transfers and company purchasing cards. The average organization now only uses paper checks for half of its transactions with other businesses, according to a recent article on CFO.com.
In a humorous take on manual invoice processing, a post on the Business 2 Community blog highlights the “paper addiction” problem prevalent in some offices and prescribes a 12-step recovery plan.
At the launch for a new technology initiative, the project team is often riding a “sugar high,” and executives have vaguely grand things to say. With any long-term project, whether it’s a “big data” initiative or implementing AP automation, the initial rush of enthusiasm eventually fades while the rewards seem far off. How can your organization keep up the momentum with worthwhile projects that take a while to reach maturity?
It’s easy to see the disadvantages of a manual, paper-based accounts payable system: high costs, inaccuracy and inefficiency. Yet investment in AP automation tends to lag behind customer-focused improvements, according to a study discussed in Business Finance. Paper checks still account for over half of business-to-business payments, but that number is steadily declining as AP departments gradually move toward automated electronic processes.
The bill arrives a few days after your company purchases a domain name for a new service you’re launching. The invoice is an administrative fee for registering the new web address with the international domain name directory. While this document looks official and the amount requested seems feasible, it’s a scam. Is your company’s invoice management system robust enough to weed out these scams and solicitations?
At the best of times, a big customer paying late can make invoice processing less efficient, generating hidden costs. But for many small businesses, a late payment triggers cash-flow problems that affect the entire company, hurting profits and productivity at each step. Rather than holding customers solely responsible, companies should take a hard look at how their invoice management may be contributing to the problem.
Organizations often expect the CEO to provide strategic vision, but an article on CFO.com explains that the CFO can play a key role in scaling the company. To focus on growth, CFOs should first clear their desks of basic finance and accounting tasks by using outsourcing and AP automation, then use analytics to reveal financial obstacles and identify strategic opportunities.
Finance departments already routinely use online platforms to collaborate and communicate with users. Now, new mobile apps are proving useful for employees who work on the go, an article on AccountingToday.com reports. Whether your organization needs online expense reporting, document access or just a quick way to look up data, a mobile app may offer the most convenient connection to your accounting department.
The world’s biggest companies are eager to boost bottom lines by outsourcing such finance and accounting functions as invoice management, an article on AccountingToday.com reports. So far, however, relatively few have seized these opportunities for cost savings, improved efficiency and analytical insights.
With cloud-based services growing more robust and popular, automated invoice management tools present many businesses and organizations with new ways to cut costs. These tools, available as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscription, can ease or eliminate data entry and help managers control expenses through improved visibility.
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.
In a perfect world, your organization’s invoice management would be the last thing you’d need to worry about. It would be a secure, transparent and paperless operation, with accounts payable managing the process and approvers easily validating payments. However, with many vendors and suppliers still using paper invoices, the reality is that companies often fall back on inefficient and expensive manual processing.
As the economy recovers, companies may find vendors increasingly reluctant to accept long payment terms that stretch out 45, 60, or 90 days. And when one of your oldest, most trusted vendors requests 30-day terms, it’s important to keep the peace rather than risk disruptions. Instead, organizations can save by using automated invoice management to increase efficiency, prevent costly errors, and secure favorable terms from vendors.
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.
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.
The way to drive performance is to measure it. Do you want to judge the success of a project? Do you want to change people's behavior? You need to create Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that quantify the objectives you are striving for. Your KPIs may change from project to project and from year to year. But they should be consistent in their ability to measure the success or failure of any set of activities.
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:
World-renowned Italian artist Franco Innocenti lives in what remains of a 10th century castle tower and paints the world as he sees it. His paintings reveal a reality different from the one to which we are accustomed, as Franco removes objects from their natural environments and places them in completely unusual surroundings, creating absurd combinations that reveal paradoxical aspects of the world around us.
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.
To my mind, it seems absurd that one organization selling products or services to another submits a printed paper invoice via their billing system and an employee at the purchasing company manually enters the same invoice into their accounts payable system. Not only is this an inefficient and expensive exercise, but it is totally eco-unfriendly!
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.
Recently I had the good fortune to stumble across an excellent article entitled "9 Best Practices for Automating Your AP Department" in the third-quarter printing of Financial Operations Matters. This little gem was written by David Schmidt and Katie McMurry and offers a viewpoint on AP Automation that is very much aligned with my own personal opinions on this topic.
Welcome to the Chrome River CURRENTS blog. I wanted this initial post to announce that we were the first technology company with a blog, but I understand that there are actually already a few others. OK, so clearly not the first, but it’s the first blog from *us* and we are excited that you are here.
- Invoice Solutions that Finance Teams and Approvers Actually Love
- Chrome River Hits New Global Expense Milestone with Launch of 31st Language
- Five Questions that CIOs Need to Ask about Expense Management
- Three Reasons Why Manual Expense Management Kills Policy Compliance
- Taking Corporate Cards into the Virtual Age
We love you guys! Everything is going great.
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!