Invoice Processing and the Shape of Business Today

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Automated Invoice Processing

In today’s competitive business environment, operational efficiency is not optional but essential to survival. Many organisations have already improved the efficiency of processing of structured operational data, by implementing CRM, ERP, Accounts and other line of business systems.

However, this does not solve the whole problem.  According to Gartner, up to 80% of business data, transactions and records are in an unstructured format – paper, fax, e-mail, office documents.  Nowhere is this more prominent than within the Accounts Payable (AP) department.

If a business wants to increase efficiency and reduce costs then the AP process is the place to start.

Accounts Payable

In many businesses the Accounts Payable (‘AP’)  process is still largely manual, and therefore a source of costs, delays and inefficiencies.

According to research carried out by the Hackett Group, manual AP processes are costing businesses on average £2 – £4 for each invoice they process, and reduce employee productivity by at least 50%. Other research suggests that where invoices go missing or have a complex approval process, the costs can be as high as £20 per invoice.  It can cost your business £20 to pay a £10 invoice.

Regardless of the processes you have in place for approval and systems you have in place for accounting, if you are manually handling the data then there is a huge opportunity to improve efficiency and reduce costs by streamlining your AP process.

Accounts Payable Issues

There are many problems and issues surrounding the typical accounts payable process.

  • Collating invoices that come from different suppliers or cost centres in many different layouts and delivery formats – post, fax, e-mail, EDI.
  • Labour intensive processes required to input data compounded further if linked to different costs centres and potentially involve currency conversion.
  • Errors associated with manual data entry in accounting systems.
  • Longer lead times due to manual routing, processing, and sign-off procedures involving individuals in different departments and possibly different countries.
  • Inefficiencies due to time spent gathering physical documents in order to match invoices with purchase orders, delivery notes, contracts, and accounting system records.
  • Inability to maximise financial benefits associated with payment schedules such as, discounts for early payments, or avoiding late fees for tardy payments.
  • Risk of document loss or damage, as documents are received at multiple input points and may be routed or classified incorrectly.
  • Costs associated with manual document routing, shipping, couriers, storage, etc.
  • Inability to easily audit invoice processing and payments to match up document flow with the accounting system.
  • Archive costs for compliance and accounts audits.

RPJ’s Accounts Payable Plus – The End-to-End Solution

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Automated Invoice Processing

RPJ Document Management’s Accounts Payable Plus (AP+) is a fully automated end-to-end solution for the Accounts Payable dilemma. RPJ’s AP+ employs leading edge software to produce a real time, rules based, supplier invoice processing system which could save an organisation upwards of 75% of their current costs.

In addition RPJ”s AP+ will provide data integrity, real time reporting, right place right time approval and many other efficiency gains that will reflect throughout your business.  Plus, the extra reliability of the invoice process helps you maintain good relationships with your supply chain.

Although RPJ”s AP+ is a solution which is matched to your specific business requirements, for Accounts Payable it is based on a generic set of principles and processes that are delivered as standard. In a generic sense AP+ can be viewed as a series of stages to completion : the AP+ workflow.

The AP+ Workflow

  • Capturing purchase orders and/or delivery notes >
  • ICR of invoices >
  • Document matching >
  • Exception handling >
  • Approval process >
  • Updating Accounts systems >
  • Document archive