Are you and your team experiencing the “uh-oh” moments that come when underperforming processes leave you scrambling for information and support?

Or are you gaining the confidence that comes from those “oh heck yeah!” moments, when you realize the processes are outperforming your expectations and giving you new opportunities for career growth?

According to a report from The Hackett Group from earlier this year, “the purchase-to-pay processes, where buyers and sellers trade the most information, offer the best fit” for document processing automation. And while automated processes can help you and your team outperform, old technology and manual workflows will hold you back. Use the scenarios below to gauge where your purchase-to-pay processes are under or outperforming expectations.

Uh-oh: “I have no idea if these goods have been received. Can we pay this invoice or not?”

Overjoyed: “I captured the receipt against the correct PO, and it’s already where it needs to be for AP to use later.”
Procurement is electronically capturing requisitions, contracts, receipts and other important documents and putting them in a content repository so that AP can access them in automated verification and approval workflows when they’re needed.

Uh-oh: “Most of the invoices received today don’t follow our OCR templates. My team had to manually input a ton of data into our ERP system.”

Overjoyed: “My team and I focused on analyzing information today, which included gathering metrics for our executive team.”
Your capture technology is so intelligent it learns new document types as it goes without any need for templates. It can read any language or format and connect the data to automated workflows. Even the 81% of invoices received by “typical (i.e. peer-group) organizations” on paper can be quickly scanned into the system with no hassle, so that you and your team can do work that adds value.

Uh-oh: “This invoice sat in the wrong approval queue for days because we routed it to someone who was on vacation. Now we’ve missed a big early pay discount.”

Overjoyed: “The system automatically sent the invoice to the correct approver based on real-time approval information.”
Automated approval flow is built into your capture solution. Routing is based on HR tables or cost center information and takes things like out of office or role changes into account in real time.

Uh-oh: “Finding the POs and receipts that these invoices match took forever, and I still have to go through them to make sure we’re being billed correctly.”

Overjoyed: “Since procurement captured the POs and receipts to begin with, the system does the matching for me.” Your invoice processing, purchasing and master data systems are integrated, so the days of searching for POs and receipts and manually matching data are over.

Uh-oh: “We paid a vendor the wrong amount because of a discrepancy between the PO and the invoice. Now we have to fix it.”

Overjoyed: “Our system caught the discrepancy early on, and we were able to work out the issue with the vendor before the invoice was paid.” Your capture solution gives you the controls you need to make sure pricing and receiving stay on track, so that your team doesn’t spend extra time and money resolving issues.

Uh-oh: “I couldn’t find any additional documentation on this purchase, so when the supplier called to ask a question, I couldn’t provide a satisfactory answer.”

Overjoyed: “Our suppliers usually just go to the supplier portal to view the status of their invoices. When they do call, I’m confident I can answer their questions.” With a capture solution that keeps track of all the “transactional documents” created during the lifetime of the order, your AP team has real-time insights into the account and can make good decisions about how best to respond to a supplier. And with a self-service supplier portal in place, there aren’t as many phone and email inquiries as there used to be. Suppliers simply login to the portal to see the status of their invoice.

Uh-oh: “We’re being audited and the invoices we need are in storage. We’ll have to pay to find them and have them sent back to us. Who knows how long that will take.”

Overjoyed: “When we were audited, we found the invoices and related paperwork in the system easily and quickly.”
Your AP team captures images of invoices as soon as they get them. This allows your company to keep the paper invoices around for a couple of months and then destroy them. Since the invoice data is securely housed in your system, you can find it with no hassle and provide information in real time.

Do the purchase-to-pay processes in your finance department align more with the uh-oh scenarios above? If you and your team are feeling the stress of underperforming processes, it might be time to take a closer look at what advanced document process automation can do to alleviate it.

The report, “How Advanced Document Process Automation Can Improve the Financial Supply Chain” from The Hacket Group, takes a closer look at seven specific areas where automation can make a huge difference.

Read The Hackett Group’s report here…

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