Business organizations must stay vigilant in the contemporary competitive environment, seeking innovative ways to streamline processes and operate more efficiently. Among the many requirements today, implementing paperless processes is an important one. Invoice processing is a challenging task in any business organization. Invoices need to be properly maintained because they keep a record of various purchases and as the years roll by, the number of invoices increases. Usually, the accounting department tends to stack up invoices on desks or in huge fining cabinets and accessing and locating a file in the huge pile of documents becomes difficult. This affects the efficiency of the employees and workflow in the organization. The rising number of invoices can be handled efficiently with scanning and indexing.
The concept of paperless office evolved 20 years ago but there are still many business setups that are paper-oriented and yet to be digitized. It is estimated that around eighty percent of all invoicing in the United States are still paper based. Suppliers hesitate to adopt e-invoicing and e-document processing technology probably because of the costs involved. Observers in the field feel that suppliers will stop using paper invoices if easy-to-use and non-disruptive e-invoicing and e-document processing technology is made free for them. Many organizations send and receive their documents including invoices as PDFs via email. This is an easy and efficient way to send invoices and orders.
Meanwhile, document scanning companies are enabling business entities to create a paperless environment by providing outsourced scanning and storage solutions. Let us look at some strategies an organization processing numerous invoices per day can adopt to introduce paperless accounts payable invoice processing.
- Scanning invoices immediately: You can save hundreds or thousands of productive hours by scanning the invoices as soon as they are received in the mailroom. Reliable document scanning software allows you to automatically sort the documents by type – invoice, checks, correspondence – and use OCR technology to automatically populate the invoice data into your accounting software. You can consider outsourcing your invoice scanning, which may turn out to be the more affordable option. The document scanning company will collect your invoices, and scan them on the same day. They can also provide secure cloud storage services to store your documents.
- Using workflow automation software: This helps to streamline invoice processing by automatically routing invoices for approvals. The approvals can be routed based on business rules and can be made from anywhere, from your home (if you are working from home) and from mobile devices. The advantage of this strategy is that problems such as misplacing or losing associated with manually routing paper invoices can be avoided. Workflow automation software can also handle rejected invoices, with automatic routing as well as a document checklist as regards the additional documentation needed. Using this workflow software will help reduce processing time, avoid late payments and enhance vendor relationships. The management can have clear visibility regarding what is being processed, and how fast and how efficiently remedial action can be taken in the event of some problem arising.
- Integrating enterprise resource planning (ERP) and accounting software: When this is done, you can search and retrieve invoices from within your ERP or accounting software. It also facilitates three-way matching – you can electronically match the purchase order with the proof of delivery, or receipt with the invoice. In addition, third-party auditors can be allowed to login and find documents including invoices on their own.
As mentioned earlier, outsourcing to a document scanning and conversion company that offers bulk document scanning is an option to consider. A reliable company would focus on helping their clients reduce internal and external risk while increasing business production. The advantage of having such a partnership is that they offer cutting edge technology driven from manual, semi-automated and fully automated processes. These processes that may include document/file capture, distribution, integration, storage, security and customization are designed to address actual issues in business organizations by implementing paperless solutions.