Tag Archives: Automated Invoice Processing

What is a digital mailroom?

A digital mailroom captures or converts into digital format all incoming business documents – paper, emails, faxes, indexes them and stores them securely.

Organisations receive thousands of documents everyday in multiple formats – paper, fax, emails, PDF, XML (Extensible Markup Language) and EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) resulting in disparate systems using manual processes with often high invisible costs.

To first understand how a digital mailroom might benefit an organisation we need to know what it is or does?

“A digital mailroon is the automation of incoming mail processes using document scanning and document capture technology. Companies can digitise incoming mail and automate the classification and distribution of mail within the organisation. Paper and electronic mail can be managed through the same process allowing companies to standardise their internal mail distribution procedures and adhere to company compliance policies”. (Wikipedia)

Why implement a digital mailroom?

Accuracy, faster and cost effective which helps organisations remain competitive and regain focus in the current global economic climate.

With mail volumes growing at an exponential rate and I include ALL types of correspondence not just paper based and with companies having mobile work forces and various regional offices it makes sense to convert all incoming correspondence and communication into a digital format for distribution.

Instant communication accurate information and distribution of this information is vital coupled with the compliance and accountability that companies invest in back up systems, document scanning and storage and compliance solutions all of which are time and money.

A digital mailroom automates the process of distributing incoming documents in to a document management system.

How does it work?

Information is captured or converted in to digital format with each item classified using intelligent capture. It is then indexed and placed in the document management system

A workflow process notifies the user or group of the existence of the document so that they are able to control the processing of this document to its completion.

An additional workflow process is then created to let the sender of the document know that it is being dealt with.

Once allocated the document is then moved into the correct folder within the document management system which contains all other relevant information and documents.

Management information from incoming documents and thier current status within the business is available.

What benefits can be derived from implementing a digital mailroom?

  • Turning all incoming paper mail, faxes, electronic mail into images reduces operational costs, reduces manual processes and provides instant access to documents by employees irrespective of where they are located.
  • Decision making processes are quicker because information is accessible faster.
  • Reduced paper storage and archiving costs by encouraging employees to do without paper for example reducing printing and copying of documents.
  • Minimal distribution of paper based mail.
  • Creating digital images of incoming mail and establishing a workflow process ensures the document can be tracked through its life cycle.
  • A scanned document is accessible by authorised users and can be referenced to other relevant documents in the document management system.
  • The security of the process guarantees the authenticity and integrity of the document which aligns with the records management policy of the company.

Finally

Many companies believe that they are legally obligated to archive documents in paper format for a certain amount of time such as accounting and contract documents.
Legal admissibility of scanned documents is still perceived as an issue for many businesses because they want to avoid risk at all costs.
It is the reason why businesses rely on costly paper based archiving and storage.
But the reality is that only a small minority of documents are required to be paper based and most digitised documents are legally acceptable in a court of law.

What next?

Digital Print Management provide print management solutions designed to reduce costs. For further information call us on: 01234-271156.

You can also follow us on twitter, like us on facebook and connect with on linkedin for all our updates.

 

Invoice Scanning Solutions – reduce costs and automate the workflow

Invoice scanning solutions are by far the easiest to implement saving a company time and money.

Invoice scanning solutions

Invoice processing and scanning is one of the most effective applications suitable for scanning and OCR (optical character recognition) technology.

As one of our customers pointed out to us recently

“we use to process an invoice on average one every ten minutes we are now able to process ten invoices a minute. The use of scanning technology has completely revolutionised our accounts payable process.”

There a two scanning options:

  • Scanning invoices as they arrive into the company which is called “front end scanning”.
  • Scanning invoices after they have been dealt with “back end scanning”

Both options are relevant according to the business and industry type.

Depending on a company’s requirement this will determine the scope of a solution employed ranging from archiving to full process automation built around existing technology and the company’s document flows.

What is front end scanning?

This involves scanning invoices as soon as they enter the company even before they are processed whether paper, electronic or fax and is the first step in the accounts payable invoice process.

Vast amounts of staff time can be saved by the automatic keying of information into the accounting system (indexing).

Scanning is straight-forward and indexing invoices is quick and accurate when using software designed for the purpose.

The fundamental difference between invoice scanning software and standard scanning software is the amount of supplier invoices/templates that need to be allowed for in any invoice scanning solution.

Every supplier invoice will have a different layout and using an Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) scanning solution will effectively recognise content wherever it is on the page of an invoice.

No one company and business are the same and each have a unique method of handling invoice exceptions therefore by integrating an automated system which has to be able to cater for bespoke requirements is a prerequisite for any invoice scanning solution.

What is required is invoice processing technology. In turn this frees up the accounts payable team’s time and enables quick and easy access to up to date financial information.

There has been a steady increase in the various electronic invoice and EDI. A significant number of invoices are still paper based but there has been a steady rise in XML documents, encrypted PDF and digital images.

Any invoice scanning solution must be able to handle all types of documents regardless of how they arrive.

The right invoice scanning solution will manage all invoice formats regardless of how they arrive.

Total Automation

Achieving an automated accounts payable process involves scanning invoices as they enter the business in turn this will increase your flexibility to automate more of the accounts payable process.

What is back end scanning? (Archiving and post process)

If space, resilience and access to documents from multiple locations is the primary objective then scanning invoices after approval is relatively quick to implement and wont require a change to your current processes.

 

 

 

 

The benefits of the back end process are:-

  1. It’s quick and provides easy retrieval
  2. Provides an audit trail
  3. Saves archive storage space
  4. Provides resilience by way of backups

How do I choose the scanning hardware?

  • The decision will be influenced by the volume of invoices you capture across a given period
  • The type of documents – paper, electronic, digital images
  • The budget you have allocated to the project

If you’re not sure where to start then contact us using one of the social buttons or by adding your contact details below on the form and one of our consultants will call you.

For Accounts Payable and Receivable Solutions contact Digital Print Management for help and advice.

You can find us on twitter, facebook and connect with us on linkedin

Invoice Processing Automation. How to automate your invoice processing!

Achieving accuracy and efficiency in your finance department through invoice automation! 

Cost reductions, improved efficiency and better allocation of resources are just some of the savings that can be gained by implementing automated invoice processing.

Accounts Payable if done manually can be time consuming, complex, prone to error and provide any number of challenges for an organisation particularly the finance department. Manual processing includes receiving invoices by post, fax or email which are then categorised.

Invoices will be then forwarded to the person responsible for the invoice for checking and then matched to a purchase order number assuming the person has created one; the invoice may then require further authorisation from senior management.

Finance departments are challenged with needing to cut operational costs whilst at the same time ensuring invoices are paid on time so as not to upset the supplier-company relationship.

Efficient invoice processing can be achieved by implementing an automated invoice processing solution.

Accounts Payable Issues

Typically the following problems hinder the accounts payable process:-

  • Collating invoices that come from different suppliers or cost centres, in many different layouts and delivery formats – post, fax, email
  • Labour-intensive processes required to input data can be complicated further if linked to different cost centres and/or involve currency conversion
  • Errors associated with manual data entry
  • 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 fees for late 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, archiving and auditing
  • Inability to easily audit invoice processing and payments to match up document flow with the accounting system

Automating the invoice process will lead to more efficient working practices. With the added benefits of cost reduction in paper handling, time savings and increased security in proper invoice management will ensure your accounts payable process is streamlined.

Why automate Accounts Payable?  

The current economic and competitive business climate makes it crucial to running your operations efficiently. When looking at efficiency, most organisations have already solved the issues surrounding their structured operational data by implementing CRM, ERP and Accounts business systems.

According to Gartner, up to 80% of business data transactions and records are in an unstructured format made up of paper, fax, email and office documents. Nowhere is this more prominent than within the Accounts Payable department. If a business wants to significantly reduce costs and at the same time become highly efficient then the AP process is a good place to start.

Benefits of automating your invoice processing:

  • Can reduce the cost of the process by up to 75%
  • Ensures control and compliance
  • Timely and accurate reporting within the accounting system
  • Ability to access prompting payment discounts and avoid late payment penalties
  • Eliminates ‘lost’ invoices during approval process
  • Improved staff morale and ability to focus on core business tasks

What are the stages of automated invoice processing?

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

Month end closing processes are more often than not time consuming and complex. Removing omissions, improving speed and identifying redundant processes is possible through a financial reporting solution.

Want to find out more?

Digital Print Management work in conjunction with AP ProcessFlows as a recognised channel partner. Our AP Automation suite includes invoice scanning; invoice processing automation; invoice management; fully automated payment allocation using our AR ProcessFlows.

Our solutions are not substitutes for your current systems as they work in conjunction with your existing infrastructure. To find out more about how automating your AP and AR process will save you money fill in the form below and one of our advisors will call you.

[gravityform id=”1″ name=”Arrange a call back!”]