If any of your A/P staffers work a hybrid schedule, email is a crucial important tool for invoice processing.
Your payables department may also be relying a lot more on e-mail to onboard vendors and approve supplier payments.
But relying on email for invoice processing and receiving may present some challenges with:
- Invoice receipt and data capture. When email can’t handle data from invoices sent, for example, via FTP upload or a supplier portal, that data then has to be manually keyed. Manual invoice processing increases the possibility for data entry errors. In addition, poor integration between email processes and an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system means staffers may have to rekey information on approved invoices.
- Invoice approvals. The approval process can get delayed when employees are working remotely. Approving invoices has become more difficult since the pandemic for nearly 25% of A/P departments surveyed by IOFM. Also, more than one-third of A/P managers report that resolving exceptions takes longer when staff is working remotely. The process can be bogged down further if an emailed invoice was inadvertently sent to the wrong person or prematurely deleted.
- Visibility and reporting. Email can’t track the actions taken on invoices. It doesn’t provide quick access to supporting documentation for invoices such as proof-of-delivery documents. And email doesn’t provide visibility into historical data.
Smarter invoice processing
That means now’s the time to consider A/P automation solutions that are less hands-on.
These solutions have features such as:
- intelligent capture that automatically extracts and validates the header and line-item data from invoices
- ERP integration that uploads data on approved invoices directly to any ERP application
- controls that manage access by user or role, assure chain of custody, enforce separation of duties and track all actions taken on an invoice
- digital receipts that aggregate all electronic invoices onto a single platform
- digital archiving of invoices and data based on your A/P department retention rules, and
- approval workflows that can be set to pre-configured business rules. Notification, alert and escalation procedures prevent invoices from going unpaid because they’re stuck in the process somewhere. With some solutions, purchasers can use a mobile device to approve invoices.