Integrating Automated Invoice Processing into your business is a process you’ll want to run as smoothly as possible.
Here we’ve mapped out the areas that need to be addressed, and indeed our suggestions for putting in place some best practice procedures, to ensure your business is fit and ready when the time comes to change. You may find you have some of the following items in place already.
1. Map out your process
It’s good to know the position that you are starting from – what are your current procedures? Who approves orders and payments? How does it currently work and where are the bottlenecks?
2. Update your supplier records
The more accurate your supplier records the more efficient the intelligent recognition process will be later on. Start checking and updating your records to ensure the correct name, address and vat registration numbers are in place for each supplier.
3. Request emailed invoices from all of your suppliers
If you still have suppliers posting invoices to you, put in a request for them to be sent via email from now on. Automated invoice processing works like a machine when 100% of invoices arrive this way.
4. Use one inbox to receive all invoices
Ask all your suppliers to email their invoices to one dedicated email address. You can do this by telling your suppliers to email email@example.com, but also make sure your team set up forwarding in their inboxes (at a server level rather than outlook) to pass any invoices they receive to the central mailbox.
5. Upgrade your existing accounts system
This is the perfect time to ensure you have the latest systems in place throughout the automated invoice process. Check that you are running the latest version of your accounts system, upgrade if necessary and ensure you have subscribed to receive support. Purchase any additional licenses you think you need for automation. If you are planning to start using a new accounts system, this needs to be in place first, and should be compatible with automated invoice processing.
6. Know your metrics
How many invoices a day, week or month do you receive? Are there busy periods and how many people are involved in processing them? How long does each invoice take to process? Do you know what percentage of invoices have errors, i.e. how many invoices match the PO straight off? If you have good stats, we have a target to try and beat. If stats are poor, then there’s more work to be done, but it’s not an insurmountable issue.
7. Introduce a Purchase Order system
A purchase order system puts robust cost control measures in place. If you don’t have a system yet, we recommend you put one in place. And if you do have one, it’s worth reviewing its capabilities to ensure it’s fit for purpose. Plan for this in advance to that it’s ready for integration.
8. Supplier Delivery Notes
The process includes a facility for matching delivery notes to purchase orders. If your business receives delivery notes do you have equipment to scan them so this aspect can also be automated?
It’s worth considering your current growth rate so you have a clear picture of requirements for the future. How many people will you need in the accounts department to handle workload? And what are the targets you want to set for automated invoice processing?
Throughout the preparation process, it’s importatnt to work closely with your provider to ensure the transition runs smoothly, and everyone involved is fully trained and comfortable with their new, more efficient way of working. Good communication is key to getting everyone on side, as is allowing sufficient time for implementation to ensure full co-operation from every department.