If you are like me, or most CFO’s, Controllers, AP Managers, or anyone in a position of financial accountability, total visibility is probably something you dream about — even at night. Being able to see where the money gets stalled or lost. Being able to see where the bottlenecks are. Being able to see where the time drains happen. And we do not just want to know where problems happened after the fact, we want to know where they are about to happen — without resorting to x-ray vision or a crystal ball.
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And if there is any one thing we know costs us the most money, time, and sleep it is the backlog of invoices, that for one reason or another, are not being paid on time. It is hard on our reputation, costs us late fees and discount agreements, and often entails unnecessary detective work on someone’s part to resolve the issue. If you ask an AP team what they wish they had, most will answer increased visibility into stalled invoices. Automated invoice processing with a single stream of invoices will help to solve all these issues.
One reason I feel so strongly about the single stream approach to automated invoice processing, it digitizes all invoices in one place. Invoices are not held up on manager's desks or in email boxes. Whether they come to you in an electronic format or were sent as PDF files or paper documents, when they have been through a single stream process, they come back to you as digital, sortable, and most importantly, searchable records.
I am sure it is easy for you to imagine the advantages. You and your staff can avoid the time-consuming detective work to find out when an invoice is due, or where it is in processing. Reports tell you exactly which invoices are in danger of becoming past due — before additional costs are incurred or discounts are lost. An exception queue lets you set a tolerance for what discrepancies you will spend time reconciling.
With the enhanced visibility created by single stream invoicing, not only can you see the lifecycle of every invoice, but you can also simplify accruals and cash management as well as establish best practices and review protocols to save your company both time and money and save you both stress and lost sleep.