Tag Archives: invoice processing

What to look out for with e-billing

As you are aware, I am a big advocate of offering the customer the option of choosing how they receive their bills in paper or electronic format.transpromo

Ask anyone in business what their biggest headache is and the answer usually is getting paid on time.

The second is the cost of processing and sending invoices.

As the cost of technology has reduced more businesses including SMEs have or are considering implementing electronic invoicing/e-billing to save invoice processing costs.

The advantages of e-billing include the speed and control you have over your financial documents; you decide when your customer is sent an e-bill.

You save staff time, postage and stationery costs.

slider02But, trying to establish the true cost of billing is a lot harder than you think because most don’t consider all of the related costs.

Many assume that paper has to be more expensive because it involves staff time, stationery costs, processing and cost of postage.

Making electronic billing the obvious winner.

There have been many comparisons on paper versus electronic ranging from £8.17 to send out a paper invoice VS £3.31 to send it electronically.

Document

Sending invoices as email attachments doesn’t constitute electronic billing.

E-billing may save on postage costs but this represents only a small percentage of the actual cost of processing an invoice.

How do you work out your invoicing costs?

What costs are associated with the invoicing process?

An organisation needs to be able to break down what the true costs are and these can be direct, indirect and those hidden costs that we tend to forget about.

What are the direct costs?

These include preparation of the invoice and are the most obvious costs to find in the process.

  • Printing
  • Envelopes
  • Inserting into envelopes – often a manual exercise this might also include a mailing machine
  • Postage costs

What are the indirect costs?

Although these costs are part of the invoice process they do not involve the preparation and sending of invoices and may or may not have a bearing on your invoice process.

Even so, they are often overlooked when working out the cost of invoicing and should be considered.

  • Queries and resolution – is the invoice accurate, does it have the required information. If it is wrong other functions in the organisation are involved including finance, credit control, operations, distribution and sales/customer service
  • Account reconciliation
  • Time spent on missing or undelivered invoices
  • Storage and archiving – how are invoices stored? As paper or electronically?
  • Credit notes – how long does it take for the company to generate a credit note, does it require hierarchical  approval, time taken to issue, delay in payment until the credit note is issued

multi channel services

What are the hidden costs?

Although not necessarily related to the processing of invoices they should be considered as part of the process

  • Payment processing errors
  • External debt collection agency fees
  • Staff time addressing and reviewing invoice problems
  • Additional finance costs due to the length of time time taken to get paid
  • Invoice financing or factoring costs.

Most of the costs associated with the invoicing process involve the number of staff that are involved in what can be a labour intensive task.

Even if the invoice preparation is streamlined and automated, if the order processing, AP and AR are manually intensive then the invoice processing will cost more in staff time such as:-

  1. Dealing with copy invoice requests
  2. Chasing purchase orders
  3. Chasing the sales team to solve pricing issues
  4. Reconciling accounts

iStock_000002289637SmallSending an invoice as an electronic attachment is not e-billing it is simply sending the customer an email with an invoice attached to it whilst it removes the postage and stationery element it is highly likely that your customer (the recipient) will print and allocate the invoice accordingly.

But it doesn’t take away the other costs associated with invoice processing like requests for copy invoices, misplaced invoices.

We never got your invoice, it never arrived in the post has been replaced with we never got your email.

Careful consideration of your invoice processing and understanding the true costs of the process can in the long term reduce the impact on the business.

Customers ultimately know they have to pay your bill the key is to making sure your bill is on time, consistent with the information they need to process the bill which in turn helps you gain visibility and enable better cash management and cash flow control.

Invoice processing – from paper to e-invoicing solutions

 

Document capture software

Document capture software can improve the speed of your invoice processing and e-invoices can also be incorporated into the flow.

Are you still printing and scanning PDF invoices from your suppliers?

As of January 1st 2013 the European Union issued new legislation that states companies can now store invoices in the format they are sent.

Having a document capture solution allows you to have invoices sent by email to a specific email address where data capture software will automatically retrieve the email and attachments, read the data and input it into the same flow as your paper invoices. Reducing the time taken, reducing costs and eliminating human error by automating the process.

By removing the need to print the invoice and then scan the document you are cutting down on paper usage.

Encouraging suppliers to send e-invoices by email ensures the process is faster and cheaper.

So how does the document capture solution work?

Data capture software automatically imports email attachments such as invoices, order forms and applications straight into the capture software where information is then extracted and managed.

The software automatically detects any attachment – PDF, XML, TIF, PNG and transfers it to the data capture software. Incoming mail attachments can be approved in a matter of seconds and as each email is processed it is removed from the mail server and archived, there is no limit on the number of invoices or forms entering the system as removing from the server will ensure there is no overload.

Forms processing and Automation Invoice Processing

‘Forms’ captures and processes all types of forms in any format. The software reads handwritten text, machine print, barcodes, check boxes, circles, tables and matrixes.

Automatic forms processing is much faster than the manual keying of information it reduces time and money and the information is accurate.

Automated Document Processing

‘Documents’ automates the processing of incoming email to cut operational costs typically by a third. Staff aren’t tied up in laborious tasks of sifting, sorting, identifying and classifying mail items this task is automatically managed by the process. Any incoming paper mail is added to the scanner without any separator sheets  and the software sorts and classifies the documents. Any electronic documents are easily incorporated into the flow.

E-invoicing solutions

E-invoicing solutions can detect any attachment PDF, TIF, XML, PNG and transfer it to the data capture software

Automated import of email attachments

‘Collector’ automatically imports email attachments such as invoices, order forms and applications straight into the capture software where the information is then extracted and interpreted.

Collector detects any attachment PDF, XML, TIF, PNG and transfers it to ReadSoft’s© data capture software.

Statistics on your invoice processing

The web based ‘reporter’ helps you keep track of documents and costs and provides accurate real time information.

Document capture software enables automation of invoices received via email and the benefits include:-

A reduction in handling costs as there is no need to manually check incoming email attachments. As long as they arrive in the correct inbox they are opened and imported automatically

  1. The speed of invoice processing is increased because incoming invoices are automatically entered on to the system
  2. Improved control as email is sorted automatically and all sender information is retained
  3. The software enables capturing of text files, PDF, XML, TIF, PNG from email attachments
  4. Importing of emailed invoices into the system is seamless
  5. Easy set up
  6. Completely transparent
  7. Seamless integration with the majority of financial systems

For more information on how to automate your invoice processing and to implement an e-invoicing solution please fill in the contact form and one of our expert advisors will be touch.

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How to survive 2013! Keeping ahead of the competition.

iStock_000018668499Small

With the growth of the economy in reverse mode and the Chancellor exclaiming that it’s going to take longer to recover from the financial crisis (although the national debt has reduced) companies will be striving to look at ways of streamlining their operations and improving efficiency.

There’s an argument that suggests the more economically challenged the economy is the greater opportunities there are to be exploited.

Only the strong succeed, losers need not apply spring to mind. Therefore our business objectives need to include a strong will, being well prepared and persistence.

The companies who include the above in their business objectives are likely to survive the global doom and come out on top on the other side.

Recently one company/manufacturer with a turnover of £10 million+ told me “we’ve tried everything, we’ve exhausted every possibility, the business is as solid as it can be given the current climate but no-one is buying anything. You can’t sell if people can’t buy because they haven’t been given a budget.”

Are you keeping a close eye on your profit? All well and good looking at the cash value in the bank but are you making a profit. There is always something companies can do to make sure they are running a tight ship and are as efficient as they can be.

There is no magic wand to fix the erring global economy and for many businesses survival is making it from one month to the next; one week to the next.

The companies that win are those who lead, take the initiative and are not afraid.

Businesses that remain focussed use initiative and aren't afraid will fare well in 2013.

Businesses that remain focussed use initiative and aren’t afraid will fare well in 2013.

Here are some points to consider:-

1. Rely on on no one – does this sound cynical? Success will not happen until you accept that no one thing or no one person is the cause of your problems and only you can make your goals happen.

2. It’s unlikely that the economy is suddenly going to do a u-turn anytime soon so its important to make sure we are aware of any industry changes that might have an impact on our business or us personally. Make yourself invaluable to your company (as an employee) and to your customers by being visible and offering solutions even if they are not in the frame of mind to consider it. At least it demonstrates entrepreneurial intent and that you have the customers best interests at heart.

3. Be more pro-active. Just when you think you’ve exhausted all avenues talk to other businesses, colleagues, associates and customers. Find out what they are doing, how are they generating business, what marketing initiatives have they deployed that you might not have done yet? Set small goals and tick them off when they are done. It could be a change in the workflow process that can make all the difference to increasing your profit margin.

4. Be upbeat – at the start of this year the majority of businesses we spoke to were. There was a sense of optimism in the air, sales were being done and and then along came the greek crisis and kicked everyone out of touch. Nothing like a bad bit of economic news to knock businesses. Being upbeat and optimistic separates us from the rest of the “done-in” crowd.

Each day our world is rocked by events that are either unplanned or completely unexpected by staying focussed and working to a plan keeps us calm and less stressed.

5. Be ever present everywhere. Now is not the time to live in obscurity. Let potential customers know you are there. Have a social media strategy, showcase your company with up to date content on your website, tell your companies success stories and share your success openly.

Jon Baker, business coach and sales trainer encapsulates all the above in his great blog here. And I recommend you read it.

It defines the importance of keeping focussed and why we are actually in business and these things are sometimes forgotten when we are in the thick of things.

6. What if you’ve lost that va va voom; the passion you need that gives you the reason to get up in the morning. I think Jon sums up it up beautifully here.

Finally…

If you no longer enjoy what you are doing then its time to take a good look and understand why.

If you no longer enjoy what you are doing then its time to take a good look and understand why.

If you’re not enjoying what you are doing then you need to take a long hard look at the reasons why.

Be honest with yourself and if the job or the business is not working and you’ve exhausted every avenue; if the passion has gone completely and you are not motivated to continue, then its time to take a long hard look and make a decision about whether you continue.

Could it be there is no longer a market or niche for your products or services in which case is it time to cut your losses and ship on out. Sometimes things happen for a reason and events are out of our hands.

This is not being negative its being a realist. Too many companies bury their heads in the sand and think the next week or month will be better when the profit and loss sheet tell a different story.

What do you think?

How are you keeping ahead of the economy?

What tactics have you employed to get through the downturn?

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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.

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Invoice Processing. 5 Great Ways to Reduce Your Paper-Flow

How to cut the cost of your invoice processing?

Many organisations are challenged by wanting to break free from invoice processing which can be a slow and costly paper based system.

Accounts Payable departments are constantly being challenged to cut operating costs whilst ensuring invoices are paid promptly. Manual AP processes are costing companies on average £2-£4 per invoice that’s a staggering on-going cost for a company who may be thinking they are managing the invoice paper flow!

A typical manual process includes:-

  • Invoices come into the company from different suppliers or cost centres in different layouts and delivery formats – post, fax, email, EDI
  • They are forwarded to the relevant person responsible for that invoice
  • There is a longer lead time due to manual routing, processing and sign off procedures
  • Inefficiencies due to time spent matching the invoice to the Purchase order, verifying, approving and signing off for payment
  • Inability to maximise discount benefits associated with early payments
  • If it exceeds the company’s limited amount it may well have to go to senior management for verification
  • If approved the invoice is then input into the accounting system ready for payment
  • Archive costs for compliance and accounts audits
Typically, there may well be invoice queries, is the vendor valid, is the invoice correct and does it match the PO or is it a duplicate invoice?

Why automate?

  1. By automating the process you gain a complete overview of the AP function using an end-to-end invoice management system of all processes and any financial implications.
  2. By capturing the invoice information using an intelligent capture tool allows extraction of invoice data whilst at the same time updating your ERP accounts system with no manual entry
  3. Consolidation and reconciliation of purchase orders, invoices and payments are automated which helps manage allocations, cashflow and payments
  4. Invoice processing automatically matches and verifies scanned invoices with PO’s
  5. The invoice process is improved because it is centralised so up to date live information is made available to the accounts team at every stage of the AP process

How does adopting an AP strategy reduce my paper flow?

It is the start toward adopting an ebilling strategy for your organisation.

Automating the processing of invoices and choosing to integrate a straight-forward workflow and document management software with your existing systems will remove manual and repetitive workloads.

Using a centralised accounts payable process integrated into your current systems provides:-

  • Automatic allocation of the right invoice to the relevant transaction
  • Automatically post invoices for payment
  • Automatically queue exceptions for handling
  • Deliver information on exceptions to the AP desktop
  • Make payment status available to everyone instantly
  • Adopt a push ebilling strategy where your customers don’t have to come to your Portal or website (Pull ebilling)

What are the major benefits?

  1. Reduce invoice processing costs
  2. Time savings
  3. Exceptions resolved quickly
  4. Supplier conflict resolution
  5. Early payment discounts
  6. Reduced supplier inquiries
  7. No double handling

Do you have a complete view of your AP process?

  • Do you wish your accounts payable function was a streamlined automated function giving you total control?
  • Do you know how many invoices you have outstanding?
  • Do you know how much money you owe?
  • Where in the system are the exceptions and and how many?
  • Who are the problematic suppliers?

Digital Print Management provide open solutions and our systems can be extended to include the automation of any business process.

If you want to discover how easy the transformation to an automated Accounts Payable system can be then get in touch.

COMING NEXT IN OUR SERIES OF ARTICLES FEATURING INVOICE PROCESSING WILL BE ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLES AND WE WILL SHOW YOU HOW TO SPEED UP THE PROCESS OF ALLOCATING YOUR PAYMENTS.

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How to make your invoices rock?

After 20+ years being in the print and mailing services industry I am still amazed how invoices are under utilised for promotional advertising what we refer to as “transpromo” for every day business documents such as an invoice or statement.

With variable or personalised printing why not use the white space to drop a personalised message to the recipient?

You see, gone are the days when the invoice was simply a vehicle for chasing payment for goods and services sold.

But before I go into my rhetoric of how to make your invoices work better for you here are 10 things that should be on your invoice from fellow colleague and F.D Garry Mumford.

Surprisingly; we still see invoices that are missing this fundamental information!

Assuming you’ve ticked all the boxes:-

Here are some ways you can really make your invoices sing:

Are your logo and address details prominent? Why not jazz up your invoices so they stand out from the crowd after all if the credit team are chasing for payment one sure way to find your invoice in the pile is to use colour. Not black and white its a misnomer if you think it costs a lot more to have a colour logo it does not!

Marketing is no longer the sole preserve of the Marketing Department if you are sending an invoice for specific services or goods then hi-light what other products and services you provide; this can be done by adding a strategic personalised message so the recipient is made aware of your other services and if you target a specific product or service you could tie this in with a sales push to promote that given product.

You see gone are the days that an invoice is purely a vehicle used just for collecting money it is so much more than that!

I go into more detail here on ways to make your invoices rock more!

White space management – I am sighing here now because I see 3 lines of transactions and then a big white space – use it, say something even if it’s just to say A big Thank You for the business but mean it and don’t leave it on every invoice run because it then becomes valueless!

I just sent my first invoice to a new client of ours and made a point of asking our accounts team to drop in a”Thank You for choosing Digital Print Management as your payroll provider on your next copier paper order we will give you 5 reams free”; guess what, we took a call from the customer to say how much they appreciated us doing that, we got an order for copier paper. So, it does work!

Judicious use of colour – OK so I’ve covered this earlier BUT I’m also talking about hi-lighting areas of personalised text in colour to draw attention to this relevant bit of information. Research has shown that colour has tremendous power to add impact to communications boosting recall and influence. Pantone® and the the internationally recognised Pantone Color Institute® indicate that consumers are up to 78% more likely to remember a word, phrase printed in colour than in black and white!

When colour is combined with the written word it impacts readers with greater recall, recognition and attention – full colour variable/personalised documents enhanced customer loyalty and retention generating 34% faster response rates; a 48% increase in repeat orders and 32% increase in overall revenues!

Who said invoicing wasn’t a science?

Reverse of invoice – Not just for Terms and Conditions as these should have already been stated prior to the supply of goods and services. This part of the invoice is a great way to show how your customer can get in contact with you; or how to pay you by showing the methods of payment you accept as an organisation.

Of course you can optimise the benefits of multi-channel distribution by combining the benefits of e-billing and paper based solutions.

If you want to stop feeling like this:-

 

Then why not give Digital Print Management a call we provide free no obligation print audits which include looking at your document flow and invoice processes.

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Outsourcing. Top tips to consider before you outsource!

I have often been asked the following questions when it comes to outsourcing:

  • Should I outsource or should I keep it in-house?

  • Is there a process or a mechanism to help me determine how I go about this process?

  • When or at what point should I view outsourcing as an achievable and realistic option for my business?

The following principles can be attributed to almost any business function that you are considering outsourcing from payroll, the Accounting function, corporate print to HR.

How to outsource

What is outsourcing?

A good place to start is to understand what the process of outsourcing is.

Outsourcing is the contracting out of a specific task such as payroll, invoice processing, billing, credit management to a third party provider often implemented as a cost saving measure for tasks that a company requires but is now finding onerous and time consuming to manage in-house.

SME’s to large companies turn to outsourcing to cut costs and streamline their operations.

What are the key points to bear in mind when you are considering the need to outsource some or all of a business process(s).

Key Points to Consider Before You Outsource?

  • Where are you in the outsourcing process? What does the outsourcing process conjure up in the minds of senior management? And what are the tangible benefits that can be derived from outsourcing?
  • What is your level of commitment to the process? i.e. Is it a fundamental part of your business plan to relinquish some if not all of a business function? How serious are you about outsourcing as a mechanism to streamline some of your business processes?
  • Have you decided how much time you are going to put aside to establish this as a project and move it forward?
    outsourcing

    Outsourcing some of your business processes can save you time and money!

  • Who or what person will “champion” the process and will take responsibility for steering the project to its conclusion? By this I mean having the authority to make the decision outright for your organisation to procure an outsource partner.
  • Have you determined what areas of the business might benefit from being removed to an external outsource partner?
  • What impact is the process (you are reviewing) currently having on your business? In other words is the business function now taking too much time away from your core business objective?
  • Is it costing or adding too much to your bottom line?
  • Is the process too manual intensive?  Is it not cost effective to make the investment to automate or mechanise the function in-house?
  • How many people are involved in the process? In other words has the function outgrown that of the organisation to a point whereby externalising this particular business process is a realistic alternative?
  • Are you able to quantify the time taken to get payroll/invoice processing complete and on time?
  • Can you quantify the cost of doing it in-house?
  • Is cost the main factor in considering outsourcing? What I mean is, are you basing your decision to outsource purely in terms of what it is costing you to do it in house? Are there other factors that might influence your desire to outsource?

Coming Next: The Benefits of Outsourcing for Your Business.

Do you have any questions you’d like us to answer?

Any anecdotes or experiences you’ve had with outsourcing that you can share?

If so please leave a comment we’d love to hear from you and we will feature your question in one of our up and coming articles!

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6 ways to reduce your invoice printing costs

Invoice processing and fulfilment

Even if you still need to send out paper based invoices there are still some things you can do to save money and reduce time

Aside of the physical printing of your invoices, there are other ancillary costs that are associated with the invoice printing process such as the toner, other consumables, paper, time taken by staff and the cost of postage. E-billing is slowly replacing the paper based bill but even if you are in the throes of making that conversion not all of your customers will be willing to comply to receiving your e-bill.

I am assuming that you are not sending an email with a .pdf bill attached that is not e-billing, that is sending a .pdf as an attachment.

Here is a quick overview on how to save money when you print and process your customer invoices.

1. Batch invoices for one company into a single envelope

It’s surprising the number of organisations that send out single invoices for each transaction rather than consolidating customers invoices into one envelope. This in itself can give you greater reductions in postage costs. Moreover, the customer wont thank you if they receive 10 envelopes when one will do.

If this is a manual process then unfortunately it will take time to ensure that your customer invoices are matched and inserted in to the envelope. You can automate the entire process by outsourcing the print and mailing process altogether. Click here to find out how.

2. Change the size of the envelope you use for posting out your documents

This seems obvious but surprisingly many companies use a standard DL size envelope and end up having to send out 3-4 envelopes to the same customer. This can cause another issue when the customer receives envelope 3 but envelopes 1 and 2 arrive later due to the inconsistent delivery of the Royal Mail.

Changing from a DL size envelope to a C5 (this is half the size of an A4 sheet of paper) will enable you to insert at least 15 A4 folded sheets comfortably. The importance here is making sure that you match the right documents for the same customer into the envelope as discussed above.

3. Postage discounts are available from the Royal Mail and via DSA (downstream access)

If you can pre-sort your mail internally and according to the mail providers criteria postage discounts could be anything from between 10% – 40% per envelope which represents a big saving on the bottom line. If you outsource the process then its possible to gain greater discounts using Downstream Access.

DSA is mail that has been collected and distributed by a competitor, but is delivered in to Royal Mail mail centres for final processing onto local delivery offices ready for delivery.

4. Invalid or incorrect addresses 

Invoice printing

Invoice printing

A sure fire way to end up having a steady flow of undeliverable invoices is having incomplete or incorrect address details. An accounts system that is regularly maintained and administered will reduce the number of returned or undelivered envelopes. Additionally an incomplete address will not qualify for pre-sortation discounts.

Make sure that your envelopes have a return address on the flap so that the Royal Mail can forward those items that weren’t delivered back to you.

5. Encourage the uptake of an electronic bill instead of a paper version

More and more companies are making it easier for their customers to sign up for e-billing. It is one of the single most effective ways of reducing costs and administration associated with print and mailing of invoices and statements!

6.White Space Management

Often overlooked but in simply terms use your paper invoice as a vehicle to hi-light some company news, offer discounts, promote a new product or service using the white space to print targeted marketing messages to your customer is cheap advertising, after all you’re printing the invoice use up the white space and be specific.

Even if its telling your customers to find you on social media – facebook, twitter, linkedin, google+ it’s a great way to remind your customers that aside of paying your bill you also provide other services and you want to engage with them.

You might want to target a particular audience with a personalised message and as you’ve already paid for the paper, the envelope and the postage why not use the invoice and personalise it with marketing messages.

Mailing solutions

Invoice printing can easily be outsourced and there are a number of mailing solutions including print-2-mail

All of the above takes time, costs money and is fairly labour intensive automating the process is a consideration and the days of cost benefits associated with high volume billing runs are long gone.

Even if you send out a few hundred bills a month there are some cost advantages to be had.

If you want to discuss some or any of the above please call us and we will advise you as to the best solution to suit your budget and your business needs.

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Invoice Processing. How to automate the process

Invoice processing and printing.

There are many companies still choosing to print these time critical documents in-house.

Choosing an end to end invoice processing and scanning solution will speed up the accounts payable process.

Choosing an end to end invoice processing and scanning solution will speed up the accounts payable process.

Why?

Here are some well documented reasons…

Because its too expensive to outsource.
Because we don’t want to give up control.
I want our envelopes post marked with our address details.
Because the Directors want to retain control of the print and despatch of our statements/invoices

If it’s taking you and your company too much time to process and generate your invoices and statements then you really should think about automating the processing by opting for a print services provider.

A printing mailing service provider specialises in the process, printing and inserting of invoices and statements.

Let’s look at the above points in more detail.

Twenty years ago outsourcing this onerous task would have been cost effective for the for high volume generators of statements and invoices.

Today, technology has changed and improved to such a degree that any company generating a few hundred invoices will benefit from tangible cost savings in postage and processing especially when this is weighted against the costs of doing it in-house factor in over ordering of stationery, consumables, maintenance fees, inserting machines and employees who are involved in the process too.

Retaining control – The question that needs to be addressed is do you trust your billing software to output the correct data? Are you painstakingly checking certain customer invoices for errors or omissions prior to actually sending them out?

Even if you have specific customers that require you to check prior to sending most, if not all mailing services will have a medium with which you can isolate those documents view and approve prior to print or sending electronically.

Envelope details – this is given as most print companies will suggest that the outer envelopes will be pre-printed with a return address, company logo and postage indicia in the corporate colours.

Company Directors are insistent in keeping the process in house – Next time the accounts department process the monthly, weekly invoice or statement run ask the Directors to spend time in the department just to see what’s involved in the process.

Present them with a time V cost analysis report that you’ve done in advance, costs both visible and invisible should be shown then see what response you get? I’d be very surprised if they didn’t exhale sharply and respond with “really it costs that much!”

What are the benefits of automating the process?

e-billing...If your company regularly sends out invoices and statements in a paper format as well as providing electronic billing then you will benefit from having this process automated.

The outsourcing of invoice and statement printing is not as complicated as you think.

By understanding a company’s billing cycle, how the information (data) is extracted out of the accounts system and how to send the data are taken care of by the mailing partner.

If managed correctly by the printing services company the cost savings will be evident.

For example by speeding up the processing time i.e reducing the time taken to despatch bills or statements, receipt of a datafile on day 1 can result in despatch the same day, which can have a dramatic impact on the DSO (days outstanding).

There is minimal time spent by the company once the data file has been emailed because the mail service provider does all the work.

Pre-sorting your bills and statements specifically for Royal Mail or DSA (downstream access) will offer huge savings on postage.

Outsourcing this non core business activity enables you to have the option of sending paper based items and an electronic version as well – multi channel distribution.

The data file can be pre-sorted for bills and statements that are required to be printed and posted or to be electronically sent.

In effect, your only concern is ensuring the upload of the information file. This is the only part of the process that your business truly gets involved in.

The biggest advantage of outsource bill and statement printing is that your outsource provider does all the work associated with printing and prepping of your invoices and statements for mailing.

You also have the flexibility to change the layout and format of your documents because most outsource printers can print in colour at the same time as printing the statement or invoice information therefore implementing a form change becomes effortless!

Most customers have come to expect paperless billing and it is cheaper than sending a paper version.

There is also a compelling argument to outsource the processing of your electronic bills and statements.

Of course there is always the option of implementing a complete end to end invoice processing scanning solution.

For more information about how invoice processing and scanning solutions can streamline your company process then click here for more information.

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 What do you do, how do you manage the process of billing your clients? Let us know your thoughts so we can share it.