If you’re 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 don’t 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.
If there is any one thing that 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. That’s 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. That’s why I was not surprised when we posted a survey earlier this year that asked, “If you could have greater visibility into your AP process, what would you most want to see?” the greatest number of responders said that the most important to them would be increased visibility into stalled invoices.
One reason I feel so strongly about the Single Stream approach to automated invoice processing is that it digitizes all invoices in a single system. No invoices held up on managers’ desks or in email boxes. Whether they came to you in an electronic format or were sent as PDF files or paper documents, when they have been through our single stream process they come back to you as digital, sortable, and most importantly, searchable records.
I’m sure it’s 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, you can simplify accruals and cash management as well as establish best practices and review protocols that save your company both time and money, and save you both stress and lost sleep.