5 Tips for Managing Complicated Invoices In Accounts Payable
The faster you can process invoices in accounts payable, the more money you’ll save. This is one of the driving reasons behind AP automation. Speeding up electronic invoice approval software and processing saves money, keeps vendors happy, improves cash flow, and frees up employees to focus on more value-added tasks than allowed by manually processing routine invoices.
However, even after you automate the accounts payable department, complicated invoices can bog down your invoice processing. This is especially true if you have limited, basic automation that does not interface well with your ERP systems.
Even with quality automation, though, managing complex invoices can still slow down processing and cost your company money. It can be a big challenge to handle certain types of utility bills, exceptions invoices, and other complicated invoices efficiently.
There’s good news, though. Once you have a reliable, dynamic software system automating accounts payable you can use the software tools to manage complex invoices more efficiently. Here are five tips to help you do that.
1) Start With Reliable Tech
Accounts payable automation programs can be a big help in managing complicated invoices. However, they’re not all equally up to the task. You’ll be all too familiar with this fact if your company is struggling with inefficient automation built around the tools that come with your organization’s ERP. AP automation isn’t what ERP’s were designed to do. You need a modern system that’s specifically designed for AP automation.
If you’re thinking of upgrading to a new system or automating for the first time, make sure that you get the right kind of accounts payable automation. Look for software that is flexible and easy to customize. You’ll also want one that guarantees high rates of auto-processing.
NextProcess, for example, makes use of cutting-edge technology including machine learning and intelligent character recognition to ensure speedy, reliable electronic invoice processing. Our system can deliver auto-processing on up to 90% of your invoices. Even better, our customer service team will work with you to customize the software so it fits your company’s needs perfectly.
2) Understand The Problem
Exceptions invoices happen when the invoice you receive doesn’t match what you expected. It could be something as simple as a typo in the header data or something as complicated as a missing contract number.
Sometimes the problem that causes an exception is with the invoice (such as when it contains inaccurate data). Other times the problem is with the processing system (such as when accurate information is entered incorrectly). Understanding the cause of the errors is a first step in finding ways to correct them.
Another problem your AP department can also struggle with is processing complex invoice types, such as utility bills. Not only are these types of invoices error-prone, but even if the information on them is accurate it may require specialized knowledge to reconcile utility bills’ multi‐level rate and tariff structures (for example).
3) Refine Your AP System
Modern accounts payable automation software often features tools specifically designed to manage complicated invoices. Even with these features, however, you might find that after initial setup the system flags a higher number of exception invoices than it should.
You can resolve this problem by starting with high-quality software and then using it effectively. This is one reason it’s important to find a software supplier with responsive customers service. They’ll be able to guide you through optimizing your use of their software.
As you refine your custom tolerances the software will get better at catching errors and figuring out which are truly exception invoices and which are not. Eventually, you should see a reduction in the number of exceptions invoices as the software learns which invoices to auto-process and which ones need human attention.
4) Train Your People
One of the big advantages of automated invoice processing is that it frees-up employee time. Since you’re now processing most invoices without human involvement, AP employees have more time to deal with complicated invoice issues. All they’ll need is training in how to use the software tools.
You might also consider training a few employees in the more varied, in-depth, and specialized knowledge often needed to understand and reconcile complicated invoices. This is one of the ways that automation software frees-up employees to focus on more value-added tasks.
All the tools that your accounts payable system uses for automatic processing are available to help employees with manual processing as well. For example, accounts payable software automatically provides historical data on the vendor. That helps an employee assign a GL code to the purchase and determine if the amount billed is within company parameters. Plus, a powerful search engine lets employees quickly look up any information they need.
5) Make Use of Data
Accounts payable automation besides electronic invoice approval software includes reliable data-capture software. This helps eliminate errors that come by transferring data from paper invoices to the digital system. And that means you get more accurate data from the very beginning of invoice processing. Plus, because the system is so good at catching errors, you’ll be able to correct any problems that come up before they can cause problems.
Accurate data collection makes it easier to spot exceptions and handle complex invoices. In addition, the better your accounts payable department gets at handling complicated invoices the better your data visibility will be. This puts AP in a better position to provide useful data for critical planning, budgeting, and forecasting.
Are you ready to see how much Accounts Payable Automation Software can help your company manage complex invoices? Just contact us today to set up a free demo! We’ll show you exactly how AP automation will work in your company and answer any questions you have. And if you do decide to go with NextProcess for your AP automation needs, we’ll be there every step of the implementation process and beyond to ensure you get reliable software that works for your company the way you need it to.