The saying that birds of a feather flock together proved to be true for more than 200 GP users that converged at CAL Connect 2014, an event hosted by CAL Business Solutions, a Microsoft Partner focused on Microsoft Dynamics GP. We were excited to attend the event as a Gold Sponsor—it was the perfect place to kibitz with a whole flock of CFOs, controllers and accountants from a wide range of industries. Mingling with attendees over morning coffee, we heard some common concerns about accounts payable invoice processing. In fact, we’d like to share our thoughts about two of the questions that came up and provide some possible solutions for your own accounts payable department.
Question: We have to process thousands of invoices each month, which seems to take an eternity. Where in the process can we achieve time savings?
Yes, too many touch points is the bane of AP departments’ existence—you have to open that mailed or emailed invoice, designate the approver, scan or print the invoice and enter in the correct data before you can actually issue a payment. Not to mention, you still have to find an organized way to store invoices and create your accrual entry for month-end processing. In contrast, you’ll find that our paperless invoice automation solution, Ariett AP Invoice, along with our cloud invoice service, Ariett Box4Dox, eliminates most of these steps, leaving you with extra work time and generating savings for your organization.
You can start to save time and money by having your vendors email invoices to your Box4Dox account – as we learned at CAL Connect, the number of companies that receive emailed invoices is growing. If you face an onslaught of invoices every month, don’t worry, Box4Dox carries out the process steps for you by using the vendor's email to create an AP transaction with the invoice attached. You don’t have to squander precious hours entering accounts payable invoice data because Ariett Software automatically populates the vendor information for you, including general ledger account coding, and submits your AP transaction to your approver.
With Ariett’s accounts payable approval workflows, you will not waste time sending an invoice to the appropriate approver and the approver will not waste time with old invoices rapidly piling up; instead, you just click “submit” and your approver receives an email notification, has visibility to the pending AP transaction and invoice and can quickly accept, reject or edit the invoice. After final review and approval, our invoice automation solution creates an AP voucher in your ERP system. Your organization also benefits from the flexibility of Ariett workflows, which can be based on multiple criteria, such as purchase type, general ledger account, dollar amount, invoice exceptions and department. With streamlined accounts payable approval workflows, it won’t be long until those thousands of invoices, once a burden, become a breeze.
Question: We’ve had it with scrutinizing data capture for AP invoices—I think we’re slowly ruining our eyesight! How can we eliminate errors when processing invoices? Is OCR (optical character recognition) software the only solution for this?
With the technological tools that are out there, painstaking grunt work should be out of the picture. OCR software is a widely known solution for accounts payable automation, but it isn’t the best or only way to reduce errors. OCR contains a master template for reading scanned invoices, which means that the system looks for specific identifiers on an invoice, such as “InvoiceNo” for the invoice number. In a perfect invoice world, there would be one invoice format; however, in reality, there is no single format to unite vendors and buyers alike in the common cause of errorless invoice processing. OCR software can read a vendor invoice incorrectly if the invoice doesn’t fit the master template. Due to OCR’s unavoidable flaws, you and your accounts payable department should still expect to spend a significant amount of time cross-checking your electronic data with original invoices—the same fate you were trying to avoid in the first place.
In contrast to OCR software, Ariett's invoice automation solution is 100% error-free. This is because Ariett Software doesn’t rely on a master template for entering invoice data. When Box4Dox receives your emailed invoice, the system automatically matches the vendor’s email address to the vendor ID stored in AP Invoice (the same as your Vendor Master File in your ERP system). Ariett Software captures all the necessary information, such as the date, time and general ledger account number, from the vendor ID and email to generate a pending AP transaction ready for approval.
If you’ve found these questions and responses helpful and would like to ask us some of your own questions about Ariett's invoice automation software, please feel free to contact us.