In a large organization, the invoicing process can have multiple stages. They may include
- Receiving the invoices from vendors.
- Registering the invoices for approval.
- Sending the invoices to the authorized approvers.
- Approving or rejecting invoices.
- Issuing payments for the approved invoices.
- Archiving the paid invoices for archiving and audit purposes.
The conventional processing system is plagued by many problems that not only cause delays but also stop your business from growing. Whether you are sending invoices to your customers and clients or receiving them from suppliers and vendors, an inefficient invoicing process can cause you massive cash flow problems and also destroy your relationships with your business partners. Automation of your invoicing processes can solve such problems in a single stroke.
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Automatic invoice processing and its benefits
Fortunately, automatic invoice processing can enable you to accomplish tasks in 10-15 minutes that otherwise take 10-15 days. With good optical character recognition technologies, business process automation tools, along with making some changes in the work culture, you can automate your invoice processing just in a few days and help your business grow unhindered. Listed below are a few invoice processing automation options for you as well as ways they can help you grow your business.
Receiving and creating digital invoices
Embrace digital invoice generation. If you are receiving invoices from suppliers and other business partners, request them to send you digital invoices instead of paper invoices. Even if they are not using an invoicing software to generate digital invoices, request them to send your scanned copies of their paper invoices and then at your place, you can use an advanced AI-driven OCR technology to extract crucial bits of information from them.
Among your work processes, you can switch to BPA tools that allow you to generate invoices automatically without your employees having to enter data manually. You can use barcode readers if you’re selling physical products; these barcode readers can automatically enter data into your invoicing system. In case you are selling services, your automation processes can automatically track timing and calculate billing amounts.
Incorporating automation at this stage of invoice generation minimizes, or rather, completely eliminates human errors. Compliance checks can be incorporated within the invoicing system through artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Using AI-driven OCR technology to analyze invoices
Once the invoices are received your OCR technology can go through them, extract the relevant values, and put them into your IT system. Once you have the data with you, the sky’s the limit. You can create further documents digitally. You can analyze the data and validate it with your warehouse or storeroom. You can attach triggers to various data points to automatically forward the invoices to the right departments.
Even within your organization, if digitization isn’t 100% yet, paper invoices can be scanned and then processed by your OCR technology.
Automatic approval of invoices
Going through hundreds of invoices, or even thousands of invoices, takes up lots of time, whether these invoices are on paper or digital files. Data from different concerned departments can be validated against each other with a mix of hardware and software and most of the invoices can be approved automatically.
For example, if a consignment was received by one of your warehouses and it was accepted, the details of the consignment can be uploaded or scanned and saved in the system. When the invoice is received, the consignment number mentioned in the invoice can be tallied with the consignment number received and approved in your warehouse and consequently, the invoice can be immediately approved.
Automatic payments and follow-up reminders
Your goodwill can increase tremendously if you release payments for the invoices on time or even before time. If your invoices can be approved automatically, even the payments can be sent automatically. Once the invoice is approved it can automatically initiate a payment process.
On the other end of the spectrum serialized reminders can be sent to customers and clients with whom your payments are pending. Delayed payments can cause crunching cash flow problems. Sometimes these cash flow problems become so big that they can even cost you your business. If you haven’t yet received payments from your customers and clients, follow-up invoices can be sent to make sure that you receive the payments.
This is how you can grow your business due to automated invoice processing:
- Time is money: When you save time, it has a direct impact on your bottom line, especially when you are paying an hourly rate. Even for your in-house staff, they spend less time fiddling with various intricacies of the invoices and focus on more productive tasks.
- Error reduction: Your organization uses lots of money due to inadvertent errors and oversights. AI-powered invoicing on the other hand can catch these errors and oversights within microseconds and plug the drainage of money from your business.
- Better insights: Digitization of your invoicing system makes a huge amount of data at your disposal that you can use for analytics. For example, are their products on which you are spending more money than you should? Your invoice data can reveal such details that would be difficult to detect with human eyes. The money that you save from wasteful expenditures can be spent on growing your business meaningfully.