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Technology Advantage: Saving Time and Money with Automation

technology advantage with automation

Gain a technology advantage with automated solutions. NatPay's automated invoice systems reduce errors, improve efficiency, and enhance security.

A company’s invoicing process often represents its relationship with both clients and suppliers. Contractors will always flock to clients who operate invoice systems with prompt processing and timely payments. After all, everyone appreciates being paid on time!

But while simplifying the invoice process is easy enough for small businesses, firms that deal with hundreds or thousands of suppliers can run into problems if they can’t track orders fast enough. In cases like these, automation can help streamline the process and provide a massive technology advantage over your competitors.

The Typical Invoice Process

Your finance department’s Accounts Payable (AP) division is usually tasked with paying external partners, and so instinct might be to go knock on their office door to see why you’re behind. However, any veteran AP worker will tell you that only verified bills and invoices undergo processing. This is the main reason why the space between billing a client and receiving payment can often run anywhere between a week to 90 days. Invoices need to pass through a whole slew of verification processes.

If an invoice has all its details complete and correct, the processing shouldn’t pose any problems. However, that’s a big if. Incomplete, inaccurate, or illegible invoices quickly get bounced back to the sender, turning back the clock on the processing period with every instance. Sometimes, the mistake happens within the AP department. Paper documents often get lost, mislabeled, accidentally shredded, or damaged—and the process begins yet again.

A typical AP employee can churn around five invoices a day. Once incoming invoices outnumber the people assigned to them, you might need to hire more help, before your staff burns out. But for some companies, late invoice payments can mean additional costs. Many suppliers charge a fee for late payment. In addition, your reputation as a prompt payer can take a hit. This can serve as a red light to new suppliers, who might switch to clients that pay the same rates but offer prompt payment.

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Paper-Based Invoice Systems

While one might point fingers at the AP department, such as the incorrect invoice being sent by a contractor or workplace accidents, so it may be worth looking at your overall system. Your paper-centric invoice system itself may be the culprit behind your productivity lag.

Processing hard-copy documents is an inefficient manner in which to secure authorization, as it generally entails physical signature routing. In a typical organization, the higher the position, the more time needed to wait for availability. Running around the office collecting the necessary signatures takes too long in our instantaneous world—especially when there are quicker digital options on-hand.

Also, paper-based systems usually require a physical storage system. Filing cabinets are hardly the most secure piece of office hardware and eat up valuable real estate. Not to mention that even the most well-organized filing cabinet takes longer to sort through than a tight collection of digital folders. One misplaced manila file folder can set back invoice processing days, or lead to starting the process again from scratch.

To reduce problems caused by archaic paper invoice systems, consider upgrading to an invoice system with automation features. Migrating paper documentation needed in invoicing systems to a digital system can help streamline processing. It can also provide additional security services to authenticate content and prevent document loss.

Faster Payments With Automated Invoices

During the early peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, very late invoices became a sort of mini-pandemic among small businesses in the U.S.

Other regions across the world also experienced a drop in timely payments, especially in Asia and Europe. Production in many areas ground to a halt, while retail businesses shuttered their physical stores. More importantly, office closures made it physically impossible to process existing invoices further.

However, excuses won’t help small businesses recover their investments or generate a profit. A pandemic shouldn’t be an excuse to stiff suppliers from an honest day’s work.

According to the Accounts Payable Association, 23% of businesses report having suppliers refusing to work with them again due to difficulties in collecting payment.

Invoice automation allows companies to continue processing even in the absence of paper documentation. Before, invoicing entailed a host of activities that required a lot of back and forth between parties. This consumes time and effort for all concerned. Expediting the process of receiving, verifying, and processing invoices and then making the corresponding payment can aid many businesses.

Transferring from a paper to a cloud system also means fewer manual processes, which in turn translates to faster processing and on-time payments. By extension, this results in satisfied suppliers and enhanced business relationships.

Save Money With Invoice Automation

Even when done properly, invoicing costs money. So imagine the costs of invoicing when done inefficiently. According to the American Productivity and Quality Center, the average cost of invoicing ranges anywhere from $2.07 to $10 per invoice processed. The biggest determinant on where in that range one falls? Efficiency.

But how does one make an invoice system more efficient? While more experienced Accounts Payable workers may be able to churn more invoices a day, they’re not in control of the whole situation. Routing paper to and from various departments for verification and signatures can increase the chances of lost or misplaced documents. With paper documents, you’ll need authorizing officers to receive papers in person, which can be difficult when someone goes on vacation or works from home.

To help increase efficiency, why not try paperless invoicing? Electronic documents travel much faster and farther than those following paper routes. Accordingly, the whole invoicing process becomes faster. And since documents are digital, you can ensure they won’t get lost in the process, and are more secure in transit. These features streamline the invoicing process.

Use E-Statements to Protect Data from Intrusion and Gain a Technology Advantage

Skeptics of paperless invoicing often point to the chances of documents falling into the wrong hands as a reason against converting. Or, they fear digital manipulation from unscrupulous individuals going undetected.

However, e-documents actually offer a more secure way to process and issue payments.

In reality, paper checks are the single largest source of payment fraud. According to an Association of Financial Professionals survey, 75% of companies that reported payment fraud pointed to checks as the medium used to commit the crime.

Another key reason for the delays in processing invoices is manual processes that are susceptible to human error. Stressed, tired, or distracted workers can inadvertently make a mistake. Even a slip such as an incorrect date or a transposed number can nullify the work and start the process over.

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Source: Shutterstock

Paperless Invoicing Can Solve These Problems as a Technology Advantage

Paperless invoicing can help correct both of these issues. Automation of your Accounts Payable division removes the need for tedious, error-prone manual entries. Instead, automated invoice software can perform tasks faster and more efficiently.

In addition, automation can also help avoid check fraud. Instead of paper checks, electronic payments route through encrypted, paperless systems. Many automated services utilize security measures such as multi-factor authentication to detect fraudulent or duplicate efforts.

NatPay Solutions Help You Customize Your Document Management Needs to Increase Your Technology Advantage

When considering how to upgrade your invoice system, choose the automation route.

NatPay's Doculivery online document management service offers a modern way to process invoices. Doculivery features cloud-based access, which allows for around-the-clock electronic document routing—anytime, anywhere. Its robust system can accommodate not just invoicing, but also e-statements, online bills, electronic payroll stubs, tax forms, automated forms, and more.

Learn more about how digital invoicing can help increase your efficiency and lower costs at the same time—reach out to NatPay today!