It’s typical of companies that use the traditional approach to invoice approvals to be slow and to some extent, inaccurate. Human error cannot be quantified and in a professional capacity, what may appear as minor errors can come back to haunt you in a devastatingly big way.
If left to its current state, invoice approval can be a slow and extremely excruciating process. Suppliers and other stakeholders are often kept waiting for payments for very lengthy periods, putting in jeopardy the fragile existing ties and may consequently lead to severed relations.
Every year, companies look for ways to improve their accounts payable process. It’s a very intimidating task considering the tedious paperwork involved. In big organizations, invoices arrive from all possible channels; emails, fax, hand delivery or via postal. In the absence of invoice approval software, data keyed in by employees may be inconsistent and can later slow down the invoice approval process as you try to track down the discrepancies.
There is also a looming threat of fraudulent activities slipping by unnoticed. With the lack of proper standards of communication, finance departments may drop their guard in spotting potential red flags because of the taxing paper-intensive process.
A lot of time gets wasted whenever an inquiry is made on an invoice. The lack of a centralized communication platform between departments leads to long threads of cumbersome exchange of information through emails, phone conversations or text messages. This form of disjointed communication has very limited transparency markers and making an informed decision may take longer than necessary.
Lack of a proper communication channel can only intensify with the inclusion of the vendor or a third party. Questions will be asked, and no department will take lead during communications. For example, which department gets to call the vendor? How will the vendor communicate the requested information? Who will affirm the details of the vendor? All this will slow down the communication cycle and the progress of the invoice will definitely stall.
Expected rewards of an invoice approval software to an organization.
Today, most companies can opt to modernize their invoice approval systems. These systems confine all invoice related communication within the invoice approval software. In case of any raised concerns by the approver, an email is sent to the relevant party directly from the software and the requested party needs only to log in to their account and provide the requested information within the same platform.
It gets better. The nature of this approval software is vast and not limited to Account Payable departments only. Any employee within the organization can be granted access to the software regardless of the department they are under as long as they can influence the approval process. For example, an employee may be requested to confirm if an invoice from a vendor is valid and if the number of items delivered was indeed delivered.
Another key factor is the ability of the software to incorporate supplier communication within the invoice approval process. The vendor will be granted special access via a portal in the system where information regarding the invoice may be communicated. The software has an acute sense of all recordings including time and developments of a particular invoice. This way, all concerned parties are kept in the loop and transparency within an organization is elevated.
Invoice approval software as an automated gatekeeper.
The traditional accounts payable systems make it impossible to fast track an invoice approval because of the different levels and the necessary approvers an invoice has to bypass. But with the modernized approach, redirecting invoices for approval is automated. The moment an invoice is received, the system will automatically assign the invoice to the relevant departments and send an email notification that alerts approvers of pending messages.
The software can also send reminders and notices to the management if an invoice is close to its deadline. This will eliminate the recurrent issue of late invoice approvals.
Finally, the seamless unification of an otherwise disparate system is a bonus advantage. The finance department may often need data from other systems and software already in use within an organization. Employees handling different resource and management software may be easily integrated to foster efficient communication within their existing system workflows without a hitch.
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