Invoicing: Good, Better, and Best
The great business mogul Henry Ford once said, “The competitor to be feared is one who never worries about you, but goes on making his own business better all the time.” As Mr. Ford stated, we don’t worry so much about the competition as we do continuously strive to enhance our invoicing service offerings and create the most efficient and comprehensive AP Automation solution available.
That being said, we understand how difficult it can be for organizations to choose between AP Automation providers based on how convoluted the electronic invoicing offerings on the market are. This blog focuses on helping you to differentiate between the e-invoicing solutions that are one-dimensional and those that are more intuitive and complete. You can also check out this video that covers the different levels of automation.
Over the years, we have come to know and accept different ways of processing invoices. Paper invoicing has been the norm for many organizations. However, this approach often requires numerous man hours and results in a very inefficient workflow.
Since the early 1970’s businesses have used their own individual electronic systems to exchange invoice and purchase order information. These transactions have generally been in an electronic data interchange, or EDI, format. Even though it is considered an acceptable way to process invoices and payments, it really lacks capacity and detail. Those formats can also be expensive to maintain.
Due to large-scale implementations of ERP and EDI systems, accounts payable departments have become more efficient. However, even though business process in AP are improved by relying heavily on ERP and EDI systems, they are still leaving a lot on the table. Particularly in the areas of discount capture, workflow and data entry. This is due in large part because there is still a lot of manual processing and matching of paper invoices taking place. What’s worse, is that a recent industry study concluded that one in five paper invoices contain an overcharge or exception!
Many organizations try to solve this issue by digitization existing paper invoices resulting in a higher risk of bad data being entered or a number of other human related errors. It is a rather blatant disregard for the plethora of current available technology! This sort of semi-automation approach is a workable model that many organizations employ. However, they fail to realize the improved functionality, efficiency gains, and money savings that come with a fully automated electronic invoicing approach.
Enter the world of high-level AP Automation. High-level automation solutions should include functionality such as Dynamic Discounting, PO Flip, Notification Escalation, Ad Hoc Reporting, Advanced Duplicate Detection, and more.
Often, solutions that fall in this category are cloud or web-based offerings which enable organizations to take on an even wider array of tasks, while making the on-time delivery of purchase orders, invoices and payments the norm. It accelerates the on-boarding of suppliers, and can process digitally signed invoices electronically through the cloud or internet in the formats your business requires. It also enforces cooperate policies, tax and legal requirements.
Solutions in this “Best E-invoicing” category are the total package and should be your first choice when choosing an AP Automation provider.