Tag Archives: invoice scanning

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 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!”]

 

 

E-Billing. A 10 point checklist to help you implement e-billing in your organisation!

This is the third article in our series that discusses how to reduce the paper flow through your office and speed up the Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable function!

With escalating postage and mailing costs any company that sends out bulk mail such as customer letters, invoices and statements requires the flexibility to adopt a combination of either electronic and paper or solely electronic mailings.

How do you implement e-billing?

Firstly it helps to understand what the definition of e-billing is.

e-billing, e-invoicing. Which is it?

e-billing, e-invoicing. Which is it?

E-billing is often referred  to as e-invoicing and customers often say “we are sending out invoices” so what is the difference?

The use of the two terms depends on your perspective as a buyer or a seller.

If you are buying in services managing incoming invoices within the accounts payable department the electronic invoicing process is part of the order to pay process and is e-invoicing.

E-invoicing is a buyer centric model where the buyer actively encourages its suppliers to send them electronic invoices.

If you are selling services and you are sending bills out to your customers via the accounts receivable department the electronic invoicing process is part of the order to cash process and is called e-billing.

E-billing is a supplier centric model where the supplier encourages its customers to receive electronic invoices instead of paper based ones and is less complex to implement than e-invoicing.

In both cases, invoices are processed but the difference is that those invoices that are inbound are referred to as e-invoices and those invoices that are outbound are e-bills. In each case invoices are processed but whether you are a seller or buyer determines whether the process is B2B e-invoicing or B2B e-billing.

Many companies and organisations alike will operate a combination of both the above processes but the functions may not be electronic or automated and likely to be manually intensive.

How do I get my customers to accept e-billing?

How do you adopt paperless billing?

How do you adopt paperless billing?

One of the first challenges presented by the customer is: ” it just won’t work our customers like paper too much!” to which my response “have you asked them?

If you want to achieve significant customer adoption then you don’t ask you have a strategic, planned, well thought out campaign to turn off paper and get your customers accepting e-bills.

For more information call us now

Here are 10 top tips to achieving ebilling uptake!

  1. Have a clearly defined idea and strategy as to how you intend to implement e-billing
  2. Do not think that by having a customer portal on your website where customers login and download their bill will drive your customers in droves to click and register so they can collect their bill. It wont work! Its a bit like asking your customers to drive to your reception and collect their invoices. In reality, they’ll do nothing because a customer portal requires registration, password and a download
  3. Think PDF, not a PDF attachment to an email but a PDF that is emailed to your customer, think engaging, personalised and interactive information that incorporates facts, figures andpersonalised marketing messages, are secure and has embedded data which can be extracted out of the PDF
  4. Have a clear strategy for collecting email addresses
  5. Use your website to drive paperless billing and to advise customers how easy it will be for them to switch off paper
  6. Use messages on all your printed invoices, statements, remittances and envelopes to turn off paper
  7. Have a sign up process on your website, on your paper invoices and statements
  8. Use an email pre-registration campaign for opt in and opt out to encourage the take up of paperless bills
  9. Use any marketing collateral sent out to advise customers you are moving to paperless billing to drive the message home
  10. Use the process to demonstrate your company’s on-going commitment to being green
When all is said and done you can’t hold a gun to your customers head and make them adopt e-bills there will always be customers that, for whatever reason want/need a paper bill or, who simply don’t want to change.
You can educate them as to how the process can streamline the billing process to ensure they see also reap the benefits of going paperless.
If you want to reduce the paper flow call us for an independent and impartial chat.
Have you adopted a paperless strategy?

How successful was it?

Can e-billing work for the SME or is it the sole preserve of the bigger corporations and Utility companies?

You can find Digital Print Management on twitter, facebook, pinterest and linkedin or connect with us at google+

 

Accounts Receivable Automation. How to automate your AR Process?

This article is the second in a series that talks about the benefits of automating your accounts receivable process.

In my last article I discussed the Accounts Payable process. You can read more about that here! from invoice management to the merits of automating the process.

How to automate your accounts receivable process?

How to automate your accounts receivable process?

I like to start with the END in mind which I guess is where Accounts Receivable fits into the accounting function because it is the process whereby a company allocates received payments to the relevant customer accounts hopefully with minimal manual interaction in effect it is the management of the Sales Ledger. It is also one of the more cumbersome accounting tasks that is often very manual intensive prone to errors resulting in the slow down of customer invoices being paid on time.

It is a key component to the effective running of any organisation or company ensuring that bills are paid on time. Traditional methods can be labour intensive, slow and prone to error.

Accounts Receivable Automation.

How does automating the Accounts Receivable process work?

Capture

By caputuring information using an intelligent capture tool which can extract data automatically learning and storing information as it goes.

Managing the information

By managing the information in your system enabling faster retrieval for processing and eliminating the need for paper storage at the same time ensuring compliance.

Cash Allocation

Incoming payments can be allocated swiftly right down to the invoice level this information is remembered by the system so that subsequent payments can be matched.

What are the benefits of automating your accounts receivable process?

  1. Real time view of your sales ledger
  2. Clean sales ledger with no unallocated balances
  3. Accurate management information and easier cash flow forecasting
  4. Efficient credit management with accurate debtor days information available at all times
  5. Increased credit control efficiency – no wasted time chasing invoices already paid
  6. Reconciliation is done on a day to day basis making the month end process efficient
  7. All banking and remittance documents are stored electronically making the audit process less arduous and reducing the amount of storage required
Finally automating the accounts receivable function will ultimately improve cash flow and reduce DSO, reduce printing, postage and paper storage handling costs enabling the company to adopt a Paperless electronic billing strategy!

Are you struggling to manage your accounts processes? Are you deluged with paper? Do you wish you could get your invoices out faster? Do you wish there was more month at month end?

Get in touch for more information 

Follow us on twitter, facebook, Pinterest or connect with us on Linkedin and Google+ 

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.

Please follow us on twitter, we need more likes on facebook and google+ please, or connect with us on linkedin for all our news and updates. Alternatively, subscribe to our updates via email.

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