The processes associated with accounts payable have evolved immensely over the past few years. Most recently, efforts are being made to integrate seamlessly and synchronize the activities of accounts payable with the purchasing department.
The resulting system, known as procure-to-pay, is the natural product of this evolution. It encompasses a number of concepts, including invoice-to-pay, in order to streamline and optimize operations on behalf of businesses of all size.
Automated invoice data capture
Manual invoicing is a complicated process. Not only do you have to make sure every bill is completely accurate and error-free, but many scenarios require customized invoices for specific clients. If this describes your company, make sure to find an invoice-to-pay solution that offers automated invoice data capture - it will save you a substantial amount of hassle and headache in the long run.
Automated invoicing leads to other advantages, too. According to a recent poll, 66 percent of respondents were able to achieve a vast reduction in paper waste due to automation. Another 62 percent experienced quicker approval of invoices, and 40 percent noticed greater visibility regarding unpaid invoices.
Proper and secure document storage
The processes behind document storage face more scrutiny than ever before. With growing concerns over data security, leaks of personal or sensitive information and the continuous threats posed by hackers, consumers and businesses alike are hesitant to store data in any sort of online network.
Unfortunately, very few businesses can function without maintaining a dedicated online network. Apart from letting them store documents and maintain mission-critical records, these platforms let teams collaborate on projects, share information and publish reports.
When considering your invoice-to-pay options, it's critical that you look for one that offers proper and secure document storage. Given the ever-present online threats of the 21st century, as well as the increasing amount of government intervention and regulation we've seen over the past few years, companies are bettering off securing their databases sooner rather than later.
Customizable approval workflows
Workflow management also benefits from the invoice-to-pay structure. Most workflows and invoicing strategies operate similarly - if not identically - to one another. The invoice is received, and the data is transferred to the accounts payable department for further verification, processing and approval. It's a cumbersome and complicated process that often serves as a bottleneck to efficiency and productivity.
Instead, look for an invoice-to-pay solution that offers workflow customization. This is even more important for businesses that don't necessarily follow the standard invoicing methods. Not only will this approach interject some amount of standardization into your invoicing processes, but will save everyone time by focusing on the specific, important details of the workflow.
Dedicated vendor enrollment
Look for a solution that offers dedicated vendor enrollment. Apart from simplifying vendor relationships, this ensures that all of your vendors are registered in your system and that they're eligible to accept electronic payments.
In short, it spares you and your company from seemingly unending communications between the accounts payable department and any external vendors.
Invoice collaboration and integration
Many of today's invoice-to-pay solutions provide greater collaboration and integration than ever before. Gone are the days when buyers furnish their vendors with a standardized invoice at regular intervals. Instead, more companies are working with their vendors in order to produce customized invoices that better match the product or service in question.
Collaboration lets buyers and vendors work together to make the process as seamless and painless as possible. Greater integration and collaboration benefits both parties by focusing on the elements that are most important and cutting out all the fat.
Supplier onboarding support
Traditionally, companies go to great lengths to ensure their new suppliers are on the same page. While it's something that takes a great deal of time, it's a necessary part of doing business. Not only does it let you inform new vendors of any special requirements or stipulations, but it also gives you the opportunity to learn more about incoming vendors, their nuances and their overall potential.
Finding an invoice-to-pay solution that includes support for supplier onboarding saves you the time and expense of having to educate each and every new vendor. Some systems, like Taulia, require new vendors to agree to a specific set of terms and conditions.
This information is automatically displayed to them when they first log in to a platform for maximum efficiency. It's a system that saves time and money for you, your employees and any new vendors you'll work with in the future.
You might opt for an invoice-to-pay solution that features automatic report generation, too. This spares you the trouble of gathering and collating information, stockpiling data and presenting it to your team in a way that makes sense.Instead, all of these tasks are automated for quicker report generation, greater accuracy and improved interpretability for the staff of all levels.