Solving one of the biggest bottlenecks in Accounts Payable

Throughout 2020/21, many organisations discovered that their Account Payable processes do not work well in a “work from home” environment. But those with the ability to digitally capture their supplier invoices and automatically import invoices that were emailed into the business, were not only able to continue with minimal fuss, but have actually been able to speed up processing to ensure key suppliers are paid on time. The University of Sussex is one example of an organisation that had to move off site very quickly, with confidence that none of its processes would suffer as a result.

If you were to take a handful of different invoices and look at how the information is presented on each, you will start to understand the challenges of invoice automation. Almost every invoice is fundamentally different in what information is provided and how it is laid out. And this is one of many reasons why organisations turn to a managed service to help with their Accounts Payable processes.

The benefits of using a managed service are many, and we caught up with Angela Vinall, Head of Managed Services at Proactis, to explain more.

"The service that we provide has been in very high demand across both public and private sectors. In last two years, the volumes processed within the Proactis Managed Service team have increased from 1.4 million invoices per annum to 2.5 million."

A managed service approach:
  • Converts invoices in formats such as PDF and XML into meaningful data - an “eInvoice”.
  • Supports strategic initiatives such as “No PO, No Pay”.
  • Speeds up the Accounts Payable process.
  • Reduces Accounts Payable costs.
  • Improves supplier relationships.
  • Encourages 'straight-through invoice processing'.
  • Eliminates the hassle associated with paper invoices.

"The control that comes with automatically capturing, scanning and importing invoices improves the resolution of non-compliant invoices and drives transparency throughout the process, and encourages suppliers to be a controlled part of the process, and significantly reduces wasted time and money previously spent on discrepancies.

“And as the volumes that we process have grown, we are actively identifying where there are opportunities for improvement, ideas and where any gaps exist in our processes. Some examples of this include providing access to an ideas portal to raise, review and vote on ideas; use of organisation notes to provide a snapshot of Processing Guidelines for each customer to manage consistency of our service delivery and refined induction and training processes for new staff to cater for remote working.  

“The larger volumes of invoices and customers has provided better insight into ‘what good looks like’ so we can benchmark, carry out trend analysis, and improve our service. A good example of this is we have built out reporting packs, delivered by our Account Managers, to help us understand how individual customers are using the system and where there are opportunities to refine their usage.

These are just a handful of examples of the knowledge we have gained being used to constantly improve the service that we provide. If you would like any further information about any of these processes, or would like to talk about how a managed service approach can help your organisation, we'd very much like to hear from you.”

Learn more about the Proactis Invoice Capture Managed Service.
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