Invoice Processing Efficiency
While the business case for automating invoice processing is well-established, advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, robotic process automation (RPA), and the cloud have made the business case even more compelling.
Invoice processing is automated using Intelligent Process Automation technologies that eliminate laborious and time-consuming business processes while providing a host of productivity and cost-reduction benefits, as well as analytical insights that can inform strategic decision-making, discover market opportunities, and increase profits.
Dysfunctional Invoice Processing Takes Its Toll
The manual, unautomated method of invoice processing is a labor-intensive process that involves entering invoice data, creating paper invoices, matching purchase orders, and performing endless rounds of manual filing, routing, and storage. These manual processes tend to be wasteful, underperforming, error-prone, and incur too high a cost.
Manual invoice processing can cause delays, late fees, cash flow problems, and lost opportunities that drain resources and erode profits. Businesses also miss out on benefits that could be derived from the ability to easily analyze cash flow, follow an audit trail, cross-reference documents, and share information.
Automation a No-Brainer
The increased efficiency, productivity, and cost-saving power of invoice automation is so strong that, as Wikipedia notes, “Invoice processing software has produced tremendous labor savings to the extent that many companies have begun to consider it an essential piece of their technology, much like word processing software.”
Automating invoice processing has produced impressive results across all industries, including financial services, insurance, manufacturing, health care, utilities, retail, and transportation. Invoice processing automation has proven to be a low-risk, high-value investment, with many companies realizing immediate and long-term productivity and ROI benefits.
How Invoice Automation Works
Invoice processing automation involves transforming paper invoices into electronic formats by using scanners that digitize the paper documents and apply optical character recognition (OCR) to enable the digital documents to be read, routed, manipulated, approved, and stored electronically.
Invoice automation systems can handle paper, email, fax, and EDI formats and merge the electronic documents in a central repository. A typical invoice automation system involves the following steps:
- Invoice input (paper, email, fax, EDI)
- Document classification
- Data extraction and validation
- Workflow-driven data review, invoice routing, and approval
- ERP export, integration, and storage
The Cloud Drives Digital Transformation
The cloud is a key element of digital transformation, providing agility, flexibility, scalability, and on-demand availability to enterprise applications and data from anywhere at any time.
Although cloud platforms offer great value, some organizations might be hesitant to move particular applications and data to the cloud because of regulatory and security concerns and the need for higher quality of service levels.
Hybrid cloud strategies have emerged as a way for applications to be deployed via a mixture of private and public cloud platforms with integrated applications and data that remain on-premises.
For organizations that have yet to automate their invoice process, the maturation of the cloud and associated technologies like virtualization, containers, AI, and microservices make this an ideal time to automate invoice processing. For organizations that automated invoice processing during the first wave of solutions, migrating to the cloud offers an opportunity to up their game.
No One-Size-Fits-All Solution
Because no two businesses or business processes are exactly alike, there is no single cookie-cutter solution that can handle all the variations and address the unique needs of each organization. The number of people and steps involved, as well as the business rules that apply to the processing of documents can be staggeringly complex.
Some organizations require folders in which groups of associated documents, images, and videos can be aggregated. Some require custom document storage, presentation, access, and retrieval schemes. Still others require collaboration capabilities for documents or customer account reviews, all of which can differ in numerous ways. Invoicing operations can involve single currencies and countries, while others must be able to handle multiple nationalities and currencies.
The volume of documents and the number and different roles of people requiring access, as well as routing requirements and workflow configurations are all variables that must be addressed. Invoice indexing methods can differ, as well as the type and number of keywords used for document classification. Requirements can differ for integration with ERP systems, accounting systems, financial planning systems, and other installed systems and repositories.
Keys to Success
Choosing the right mix of components and configuring those components to match your unique business requirements is the key to achieving optimal results. Achieving the best results requires in-depth discovery to obtain the proper understanding of your business forms, routing routines, approval processes, storage requirements, and the degree of information sharing among systems.
This is why choosing the right automation solution provider is critical to success. A knowledgeable and experienced automation specialist can lead the discovery process and identify the best deployment options for your organization.
Why Roth Automation?
What sets Roth Automation apart is decades of experience in designing and deploying intelligent process automation solutions. Our consultants and developers are experts in performing the in-depth discovery that is required to choose the best components and determine the optimal configurations for your organizations’ unique invoice processing automation needs.
To learn how your business can benefit from invoice automation, speak with our expert consultants today.