Free advice doesn't always come with the best reputation. Still I take my chances, and put forward seven mistakes you should stay clear of, no matter if you take on invoice process automation together with us - or any other vendor.
When being introduced to supplier invoice processing, the most captivating part is always the scanning technology. MFP (Multi functional Peripherals) with all the bells and whistles. Super-fast production scanners. Amazing OCR and ICR software extracting information from paper documents. Fascinating technology replacing manual work and making the business case stick. Capture technology IS important. Capture technology DOES save time and money. Capture technology IS part of the solution. But the big money is in the processes after the capture. The processes involving the more expensive resources in your company. Your specialists and managers.
Sending invoices in PDF by email may look like invoice processing. Once you’ve experienced the mess that comes from simply putting electric power to old and bad habits, you’ll know the difference. No business rules. No reliability. No scalability. No auditability. No nothing. Just emails.
An invoice processing solution that is not integrated with your current (and future) business systems will never deliver to your satisfaction. If you scan invoices without validating the data against your business systems, you get garbage in. If the solution doesn’t use your purchase orders, tax codes, authorizations, and accounting plans you’ll end up doing the work twice. Simply generating posting for import is not enough. An island solution is still an island solution. And not a place you want to end up. Even if getting there initially is a little cheaper.
Today’s ERP systems and Financial applications often have some kind of rudimentary invoice processing functionality built-in. Or at least offer it as an add-on feature. Sometimes this is “good enough.” Look around to see what others are doing. And think ahead. What’s the best option if you plan to switch systems sometime in the future? When Husqvarna made their transition from Oracle Financial to SAP, Next Invoices integrated with both, making the entire transition easier.
Many off-the-shelf apps and homegrown solutions barely cope with today’s requirements. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. New formats (EDI, XML, e-invoice), new devices (phones and tablets), new locations, new countries, new languages, new rules, new legislation, and new business systems. Even new processes – besides approving supplier invoices.
“We are moving to SAP, NAV, AX, or something else in 6, 12, or 24 months.” Congratulations. You just identified the best possible time to introduce a new Invoice processing solution. As with Husqvarna, having an external invoice processing solution in place will ease the transition. And save you loads of money in licenses to the new system.
Technology is great. But only if the people use the technology. Ease-of-use must be your selection criteria number one. Experience in organizational implementation could very well be number two. When Per Aarsleff, number one construction company in Denmark, finally rolled out their solution to several hundred users, the required training effort was measured in minutes. Not hours, or days.
Staying clear the above mistakes won’t keep you in the clear for sure. But at least it’ll help you avoid a few of the many pitfalls we’ve seen people experience.
We have done smart process applications that boost corporate efficiency, scalability, and the personal joy of work for decades. Experience doesn’t eliminate every mistake - but for sure take out the most.Best of luck with your project.
+358 50 356 7076
Jørn M. Christensenjmc@nextway.software
+45 26 77 66 40
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