Invoice management, unlike other old-age internal operations, should be the first thing to be automated. 82% of finance departments, according to a survey, are overworked to handle the numerous invoices they must process each day and the various ways they arrive.
Despite their best efforts, businesses have cobbled together billing systems that make everyone’s life a little more difficult. They were never meant to be permanent fixes. They were simply the finest we could find at the time.
That’s how we are defining “stone-age” finance operations.
It’s past time to abandon manual data entry and double handling. All of the issues with invoice management that are slowing down your organisation are easily fixable.
Digitization of Invoices
In- and out-trays, which were once commonplace in modern workplaces, are now obsolete. The need to pass paper from person to person has largely disappeared.
Digitization has taken over, so we no longer send letters but instead use email and Slack to talk to each other.
Invoices, for the most part, have followed suit. While you may still receive the occasional invoice in the mail, they are far more likely to arrive as email attachments. You may have to look for software and online subscriptions on the platform in question.
The much-needed Change
However, this has not eliminated the necessity for double handling and data entry. Some businesses print out electronic invoices, re-enter them into spreadsheets, and then file the paper record. That is borderline insane!
Others send these emails to the person in charge, as was said above, but financial records still need to be updated by entering data by hand.
In 2023, how should modern businesses handle invoices?
Smart businesses search for ways to eliminate two things:
- Manual data entry is usually time-consuming and can result in numerous errors; and
- Excessive communication and double handling: All of those emails to send invoices from one location to another are more irritating than most of us realise.
In this case, invoice automation is critical. Instead of sending a PDF around the firm for validation, the point-of-contact (as seen above, the service user) can just enter the data into a tool or platform as soon as they receive it.
This is how it would look:
- The point of contact receives an email containing a supplier’s invoice.
- They entered the information into their invoicing management system which will even automatically read the invoice and extract the data.
- Their manager is notified automatically, and the same system can be used to either pay them or not.
- The finance manager (or AP clerk) is then notified, and the invoice can be paid.
- The data is then sent automatically to the organization’s accounting programme or ERP.
There is only one time you have to enter data (or none, if the programme can get the data for you), and you don’t have to worry about internal emails.