- Manual data verification
Although better than paper for remote working, a switch to PDF invoices, be it data-layered or just an image, doesn’t solve the problem facing the AP team today.
Many who are at home trying to manually process PDF invoices which are received by email have a number of challenges. First, streamlining the process by which team members handle each invoice, download the PDF from the email, and store it centrally ready for processing. Second, is not having multiple screens to work on and needing to continually move between a PDF and the finance system in order to key in and check the data. This not only slows the process down, but it increases the likelihood of human error. Third, is the challenge of resolving missing and incorrect invoice information, which can be difficult enough when with colleagues in the office. A good example of this is missing PO numbers, a common challenge that is amplified when trying to get hold of people remotely!
The need for an agile approach
In our minds, although it’s tempting to try and turn to pure eInvoicing as the answer (i.e. XML and portal invoices), it’s not realistic to suddenly expect all suppliers to want/be able to switch in both the short or long-term due to skill, capacity or budget - especially given the challenges we’re all facing.
If organisations can help willing suppliers make the transition, then that’s a great goal to have, but COVID-19 hasn’t exposed the need to end paper invoicing. Instead we think it’s shown the need for an agile AP operating model – one which can efficiently handle paper, data-layer and image based pdfs, XML and portal invoices, regardless of how the team is set up; and one with structured, automated processes to engage internal employees and suppliers directly for speedy query resolution, all so that suppliers of all sizes can focus on delivering the best service they can to your organisation.
So now is the time to step back and look at where you’re struggling at this moment in time. Is it in handling all invoice types? Or is it that the remote processing of paper and PDF invoices is leading to extensive manual keying and associated errors?
The answer doesn’t mean that you need to immediately replace everything you do – you could simply supplement weaker parts of your model with new solutions, services or processes
If you’re facing these challenges, get in touch
with us to see how we can help.