How much easier it would be if you could have all of your AP bills digitally received into the computer and then compared against purchase orders and receiving records? How fast would that make the approval process when making the decision to pay the invoices.
In most companies, the process to purchase and pay for supplies, raw materials or finished goods are based on the buyer placing a purchase order, the warehouse receiving the goods, the accounts payable department paying the invoice and the CFO signing the checks. This process is repeated over and over as buyers place orders throughout the year. When the invoice is received from the vendor, it could be days, weeks and months after the items were ordered. No one is going to remember what was ordered, what the cost was and what was actually received without going back to the computer and looking things up or in a manual world, finding the printed purchase order, the bill of lading that was received and receiving document to determine what was and should have been received.
Wouldn’t it be convenient if you could scan the vendor invoice into the computer and it would automatically check the purchase order and the receiving data in your ERP system and automatically approve the invoices where the items, quantity and price match and only flag those where there is a discrepancy for human intervention. This would definitely save in the paper shuffle where people pass the documents around the office for approval from the buyer and the accounting staff.
There currently exists systems that can connect to your ERP system that do this and then once the payment is made to the invoice in the ERP system, can maintain the payment information so that it can be matched up to complete the whole process. In addition, any documents which need to be maintained with the data flow can be scanned and attached to the data so that users can go to one location to find all the info about the purchase.
This approval process can be a combination of automated review and manual review. The receiving match to the invoice can be automated by this software but the approval to pay the bill might require the accounting manager’s approval. With this software, you can have the data sitting in a pending approval status waiting for the manager to look and approve them.
Once that approval is made, the data moves to the ERP processing for check or ACH production and will maintain all of the company books and records pertaining to the General Ledger data so that it can be combined with the rest of the financial data produced by the business.
In some businesses I visit, I have seen staff sitting at their desks trying to manually marry up purchase order to receiving documents to invoices and then walking around the office to each buyer for their signature. They leave a pile of unapproved invoices and pick up the pile of approved invoices. Depending on the volume of your purchases, this paper flow could take a team of people all day long just passing around paper. What a waste of time and money.
This next level automation is sure to but stream-line and shorten the time to produce approved invoices that are ready for payment. This is a process that should improve any businesses back office work flow. If your interested in automating your AP, MIBAR can help! Schedule a consultation to learn more.