Invoice-in-a-box – 4 steps to success

Oct 04

Invoices are one of the highest demanded documents to automate. Let’s talk a little about what it takes to be successful in invoice processing. Data Capture is the technology used for invoices. This is where you extract field-by-field the information you want from the invoice in field order. In order to automate invoices with the high accuracy and utilize a boxed invoice solution you need to do some preparation. Here are 4 MUST have steps:

1.)Separate your commercial invoices from any specialized invoice types such as legal, manufacturing, telecommunication, etc. The reason you do this is because the low hanging fruit when automating invoices is commercial invoices. Software packages have put the most amount of effort in these documents. By working with them first, you are ensuring your success on a large population of your invoices and then can tackle the remainder.

2.)Know how many vendors you have. Understanding the makeup of your invoices is very important. Your focus should be determined by those invoices that are easiest to automate and make up the greatest portion of your entire volume. So make a list of all your vendors and what paper volume percentage each makes up of the whole.

3.)Know if you want to collect line-item data or not. At first glance, majority of companies say they want line-items, only later to change their mind. Find that business process that mandates you collect line items. In your current process, are you having line items entered? What database of existing information will you use to support your line-item extraction? Most companies in the end choose against line-items or choose to extract them for limited critical vendors.

4.)Know how you are going to check the quality of extraction. Quality assurance happens with human review, and business rules. Know before hand how you want those to work. For example a business rule simply could be all line-items must add up to total amount, if they don’t you have someone, look at the entire invoice.

These four steps are not the end-all in proving you invoice processing accuracy, but they are necessary and all steps to consider before you look and purchasing a boxed invoice processing solution.

Chris Riley – About

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Not that you want to pay that invoice any faster

Dec 09

But you can, and you can with a lower cost, and perhaps take advantage of net discounts. With Data Capture and OCR technology you can automate the entry and routing of commercial invoices. The reality for organizations that receive many invoices a day is that the accounting department is paying high salaries and taking time a way from other activities to data enter paper invoices. Using recognition technology to replace this process has been a tremendous benefit to many organizations. There are a few keys to success.

Start out simple: don’t try to tackle the entire paper world with your solution, start out simple. First identify the process and where the opportunities for saving are. Usually the biggest opportunity is going to be in the entry of data into some accounting system. To automate this you will need data capture and scanning capabilities. Starting out simple does not mean to overlook all the possibilities but to find the technology that will fit all your wildest dreams of automation but start out slow with it. More specifically with invoices, first start by scanning, then by getting vendor, invoice number, and total due using recognition technology, etc.

Wait for an ROI before you make a major change: These technologies if implemented correctly can provide a great return on investment. Sometimes organizations make the mistake of not waiting until they get an ROI before making another major change. The change likely will have positive results, but requires another round of additional effort and could be problematic. This does not allow you to see when the value of the technology starts kicking in and could have you repeating effort. Wait until you succeed at a basic implementation before you seek even more cost savings. Saving money is addicting, but let each phase actualize itself.

Never forget your business process is boss: Organizations have processes that are set in stone. Staff understands how to execute them, technology is setup to facilitate them, and other processes are feeding or fed by them. Sometimes new technology is so exciting that it forces you to change what you are doing right when you acquire it. Often organizations don’t realize the upstream and downstream impact of dramatically changing business processes. A technology should give you the option to keep doing what you are doing only faster, or to change things if you choose. At first try to keep it as consistent with the already in place AP business processes, then look for process improvement later.

No maybe you don’t want to pay that invoice faster, but you do want to reduce the cost of working with it. With Data Capture and OCR you can save a ton as long as you prepare yourself and do your homework.

Chris Riley – About

Find much more about document technologies at