In earlier posts we've covered invoice processing and accounts payable automation and how it helps you cut costs and improve productivity. These posts take the viewpoint of the buyer and how the accounts payable department can benefit from scanning, data capture, content management and process automation. I won't restate the value of these technologies nor the ROI.
For this post I wanted to look through the eyes of the supplier and get back to the topic of this post which asks the question "who has my invoice?".
If you're like many companies you have many suppliers some of which are strategic to your business. These suppliers provide you with raw materials or components of things that you include in your final product, service or solution. Fujitsu, for example, is one of Yakidoo's strategic suppliers. Yakidoo solutions integrate their scanners along with capture and content management systems from Kofax, EMC, IBM or Microsoft. These are strategic suppliers or partners if you will.
In the case of strategic suppliers your company's revenue can be dependent on the stuff you buy from them. Imagine what would happen if one of these suppliers called up asking about payment and referred to a specific invoice and it couldn't be found? Believe it or not this happens! The invoice could be sitting in a pile of paper on a desk or buried in someone's email in-box. Whether you have the cash to pay the supplier or not they're not going to be impressed and it can put unnecessary stress on your relationship with them... not to mention more stricter terms of payment like COD.
Simply put, the invoice whether it be on paper or in an email in-box should have been processed immediately as part of a disciplined process that, among other things, made it simple for anyone to find a digital copy of the invoice when the supplier asked about payment. Losing an invoice is no longer acceptable and the data on the invoice needs to be actioned asap to ensure prompt payment to preserve a strong relationship with your strategic supplier and to take advantage of early discounts. Early discounts tend to be missed because the invoice has not be entered into accounting systems fast enough. In the case of a strategic supplier who's products you resell or integrate into your offerings, an early discount increases your gross margins.
In earlier posts we've provided some free advice and guidance on how and where to start in process automation, scanning, capture and content management. We suggest focusing on core processes that are manually intensive, can cause human error or delay and that cost the business money. It's possible that lost invoices and payment delays due to manual or unproductive workflow or bad work habits is not only costing you money but may impact future sales too.
We’d also be happy to act on your behalf and get answers to the key questions and concerns you have about accounts payable automation. If you have questions leave a comment below, contact us through this web form, send us a Tweet or contact me personally on Linkedin. Help us shape the editorial agenda for this blog so you can get the most value out of what we produce.
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Victor Bensusan is CEO of Yakidoo. He has 20 years experience in Finance and Information Technology primarily in the area of process automation, information management and business performance improvement.